On International Women's Day, Google has announced that it will support 1 million entrepreneurs in rural India. It has also announced a $25 million fund for projects that address systemic barriers towards economic equality globally. "Today at #GoogleForIndia #WomenWill we announced a commitment to support 1M women entrepreneurs in rural India, and a $25M Google Org Impact Challenge for Women & Girls to fund projects addressing systemic barriers to economic equality globally," said CEO Sundar Pichai.
Jacqueline Fuller, President of Google Org said in a blog post that was shared by Pichai on Twitter, that if women and girls are given the resources and opportunities to turn their potential to power, it changes the trajectory of their lives as well as strengthens communities. "I've seen this play out first hand while living in India, where public health programs that put resources and decision-making in the hands of women drove much stronger outcomes for their families and villages. I've seen this in my own life, when bosses - both male and female - gave me stretch opportunities and bet on my leadership," she said.
Fuller said she was excited to join CEO Pichai to launch their Impact Challenge for Women and Girls at a Google for India Women Will event on Monday morning. Google is calling on ideas from non-profits and social organisations that are working towards economic empowerment of women and girls to create pathways to prosperity. The tech giant will provide $25 million in funding overall. Impact Challenge grantees will receive mentoring from Googlers, Ad Grants and additional support.
Today at #GoogleForIndia#WomenWill we announced a commitment to support 1M women entrepreneurs in rural India, and a $25M @Googleorg Impact Challenge for Women & Girls to fund projects addressing systemic barriers to economic equality globally. #IWD2021https://t.co/eNhgvWGzPB— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) March 8, 2021
Even after United Nations made 'gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls' one of its Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, women and men are still on unequal footing, said Fuller, adding that these inequalities have become worse due to COVID-19. Women are almost two times more likely to lose their jobs due to COVID-19, said Fuller. In the US alone, women have lost over 5.4 million jobs, accounting to 55 per cent of the 2020 net job losses. An estimated 20 million girls are at the risk of not returning to school, she said. "Job cuts, income loss and lack of access to education will prevent the economic advancement of women and girls, particularly those from underserved communities, for generations to come. These alarming realities require swift and powerful action. We have a collective responsibility to make sure that generations of women and girls from all walks of life can live in a world where they are treated equally and reach their full potential," she said.
Google.org has given more than $55 million to non-profit organisations to support gender equity and access to opportunity. "I'm honored to stand alongside our partners from Vital Voices and Project Everyone, as well as our phenomenal panel of experts, to elevate the critical work that is happening around the world," she said.
The panel is composed of women leaders from over 15 countries with expertise in global public policy, advocacy, research, business, technology and more.
Projects that support women and girls and have bold ideas on how to transform economic opportunities for women and girls can submit ideas till April 9. The grant recipients will be announced later in the year.