Amazon India Unveils Platform To Support Female Sellers In Partnership With UN Women

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Recently, Amazon India, a subsidiary of Amazon, the world’s biggest online retailer launched a special storefront that will focus on highlighting women sellers.

To mark International Women’s Day 2021 and in partnership with UN Women, Amazon India unveiled a female-focused storefront on its existing online platform, to promote around 80,000 products sold by over 450 women-led small businesses in India.

The organization will make an US$0.34 contribution for every transaction made on this new platform and the proceeds will go to ‘Nanhi Kali’, a non-profit sponsoring the education of underprivileged girls.

During the virtual event, Susan Ferguson, Country Representative of UN Women India, said: “We acknowledge the challenges women entrepreneurs across the country have overcome to support themselves and their families through e-commerce. Amazon has an important part to play in helping women become financially independent. Witnessing the success of women entrepreneurs on Amazon makes me hopeful about the enormous opportunities there are for women in the online world.”

Smriti Zubib Irani, Minister of Women and Child Development of India, who was also present at the virtual event, said that the initiative hopes to serve over 70 million female entrepreneurs in India. In addition, she claimed that over INR 309 billion (approx US$4.25 million) was transferred to the bank account of 226 million Indian women during the pandemic. “So that they can have access to credit or for that matter, access to ready cash, thereby strengthening their purchasing power, especially in the time of the pandemic.”

A screenshot of the virtual event. Source: Amazon India

Amazon India Senior VP and Country Head Amit Agarwal, said that this platform could help those women that have been affected by the pandemic. “It is no secret that the economic disruption caused by the pandemic has hit women-dominated sectors and small businesses the hardest, leaving women vulnerable to the loss of livelihoods. Entrepreneurship amongst women can play a pivotal role in creating stronger economic outcomes for society.”

We acknowledge the challenges women entrepreneurs across the country have overcome to support themselves and their families through e-commerce. Witnessing the success of women entrepreneurs on Amazon makes me hopeful about the enormous opportunities there are for women in the online world

Susan Ferguson, Country Representative of UN Women India

Apart from the online storefront, Amazon India also runs several programs, including Saheli that provides extensive training and skill development workshops, set to positively impact over 280,000 women entrepreneurs, and Launchpad, both that work to increase the representation of women in businesses and encourage female-led entrepreneurship.

Agarwal added: “At Amazon, we remain committed to support the success of women-led small and medium businesses. Technology and e-commerce have emerged as equalisers that can provide women a level-playing field, enabling them to build scalable businesses and create positive impact in society.”

The partnership with UN Women will see Amazon India releasing limited edition bookmarks showcasing real stories of women entrepreneurs who ‘challenge, champion, change’, which will be available with books purchased on the website throughout the month of March’21.

Recently, Amazon India set up all-women delivery stations in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu to create more opportunities for women, especially in the logistics sector.

Recently, Tata Starbucks, the joint venture that owns and operates Starbucks outlets in India, opened two new stores in Delhi and Mumbai that are entirely run and operated by female staff in an effort to increase the representation of women in the workforce with the goal of ensuring women make up at least 40% of its total workforce by the end of 2022, up from the current 28%.

In the wake of global movements against gender discrimination and other social exclusion in the workplace, companies have been facing increasing pressure to take action on diversity and inclusion commitments. Recent market surveys have shown that consumers are more willing than ever before to speak out against brands that fail to take a stand on social and environmental issues

According to analysts from McKinsey, profitability remains a robust reason for companies to prioritise diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and says that firms must put this at the forefront of their business strategy as the world recovers from the pandemic.

Research from the UN showed that women, along with children, elderly and displaced peoples, will be hit the hardest by the effects of the coronavirus and the resultant reversal in a number of sustainable development goals (SDGs) including education, women’s advancement, poverty and income inequalities. 

Lead image courtesy of Women In Trade.

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