Women on Wings invites corporate leaders to pledge time for rural women

New Delhi, Nov 11 (IANS) Women on Wings (WoW) organised a silent auction here on Thursday to bring together corporate leaders and development sector experts to bid their time and talent for the advancement of rural women in India.

The event was hosted by Alphonsus Stoelinga, Ambassador of the Netherlands in India, and was aimed to exhort the experts to devote their expertise, in whatever manner possible, to the rural women working in several enterprises that work with WoW.

WoW is a social enterprise headquartered in Netherlands which specializes in lending consultancy marketing solutions to small scale working houses to gain economy of scale. Their aim is to help at least one million rural Indian women get jobs and economic independence.

“Women are an engine of progress and we must harness their calibre for an overall development of society,” Stoelinga said at the event.

Artisans from around rural India had also put up their stalls to showcase their work, which they were able to expand with the help of WoW.

“I used to sell my work to exporters in Barmer, not knowing that they were sold at a premium price in the cities. I then got in touch with Women on wings which guided me and helped me get the right prices,” Ruma Devi, an applique patchwork artisan, told IANS.

Also present at the event were Maria van der Heijden, the Dutch co-founder of Women on Wings, Ronald van het Hof and Shilpa Mital Singh, the India Managing Directors of Women on Wings.

“Empowering women in rural India can transform India’s future and dismantle the social, economic and cultural barriers that are holding women back in rural India,” van der Heijden said

“At Women on Wings, it is our core belief that if you invest in a woman, you invest in a whole family and in the economy,” she added.

She was complemented by van het Hof and Singh who emphasized the role of women in shaping the society, and importance of economic independence, which in turn leads to education.

S.K. Misra, former Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of India, and representatives of many corporate firms attended the event.