Nita Ambani: Women’s empowerment

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Nita Ambani: Women’s empowerment

Learn English with Nita Ambani’s Speech. In this video, Nita Ambani, the founder and chairman of Reliance Foundation, discusses her commitment to supporting women. Nita Mukesh Ambani is a philanthropist from India. Reliance Foundation, Dhirubhai Ambani International School, and Reliance Industries are all founded by her. In addition to being married to Mukesh Ambani, she is the chairman and CEO of Reliance Industries.


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Nita Ambani “Quote”

Nita Ambani Quote: If you do not build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.

“If you do not build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.” Nita Ambani

Nita Ambani | FULL TRANSCRIPT:

In India, women are discriminated against even before they are born. Seven hundred thousand girls are killed in the womb and from there onwards, it’s an uphill struggle for girls. What kind of an India and what kind of a world do we want for ourselves and our children?

 

Dear Tina, my fellow co-host, the entire Women in the World team, esteemed guests, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you, Tina, for that generous introduction. You are a true icon of women’s empowerment. Your work on how women can bring about transformational change in the world is truly amazing. The Women in the World Summit surely stands out as a lighthouse for millions of women across the world.

It is indeed a privilege to be here today on the same platform as some of the most accomplished women from India and from around the world. To speak after such wonderful women can sometimes be overwhelming, but let me try. Why do I support women and what does it really mean to me? Well, it’s not about me.

It’s about uplifting millions of women in this country. The Reliance Foundation directly impacts the lives of more than 2.2 million women in India through its initiatives in education, health, rural transformation, disaster response and sports. Why do we do this? Is it philanthropy? Is it CSR? Of course, it’s all of these, but much more.

The reason I do this is because I owe a debt. A debt I will go far and deep to repay. All I’m doing is focusing on how soon and how well I can repay this debt. Allow me to explain what I mean. I was born in a family of 11 girls and one boy, a joint family. We were proud to grow up in a house that was free of gender bias.

We were fortunate to be groomed as self-reliant, educated, free-willed and disciplined children. I was interested in dance, so I pursued it and trained in Bharatanatyam. After my graduation, I wanted to teach, so I joined the school and started working as a teacher. When I was getting married, the only precondition I had was that I would continue working even after marriage.

In my story, I had access to education, healthcare and the opportunity to work. Most importantly, I could make my own choices for myself because of an environment, an outlook that encouraged and enabled me. Unfortunately, millions of women don’t have access to basic things like healthcare, water, sanitation and education.

Then there are those who, despite having all these, have no access to employment. And above all, they don’t have the power to make their own choices. In India, women are discriminated against even before they are born. Seven hundred thousand girls are killed in the womb and from there onwards, it’s an uphill struggle for girls.

The opportunity funnel just keeps on getting narrower and narrower for them. Over one million children below the age of five are lost each year, of which three hundred thousand die on the first day of life itself. Worst, a majority of them are girls. As a mother myself, I find this very painful to accept.

Girls are neglected when unwell and not given priority for medical treatment in the family as compared to boys, leading to high infant mortality rates. More than 50 percent of girls fail to enroll to schools. Large number of girls drop out of school at puberty. One of the main reasons being the lack of separate toilets for them.

Nearly 45 percent of girls in India get married before the age of 18. Seventy percent of women are not part of the workforce. All these numbers paint a grim picture. We could have been one of these statistics. This could have been you. It could have been me. Yes, my story could easily have been just like theirs.

But I got lucky. Let me explain how. First, I got lucky through a lottery called births. I was born into a family that gave equal opportunities to girls and boys. Then I won a lottery called education because my family believed in the power of education, especially for girls. And then I met Mukesh. Mukesh encouraged and supported me to pursue my passion, be it education, dance or sports.

Thus, I continued making my own decisions and my choices even after marriage. But my story could have been very different. My story could easily have been just like that of many other women in India. And that is why I owe a debt. We all owe a debt to our sisters who are not as fortunate. We stand at a very important time in history, a time when a crucial difference can be made.

In about a decade, India will have the largest number of women in any country in the world. What kind of an India and what kind of a world do we want for ourselves and our children? A world where women lag behind is not only an unequal world, it’s an unjust world. It’s an unfair world. And we cannot accept a world like that.

Can the world be different from what it looks like today? I believe it’s quite possible. India has a rich tradition of worshipping goddesses. We worship goddess Saraswati for knowledge, goddess Lakshmi for wealth, goddess Durga who destroys all evil. We also have a proud history of women leaders from all walks of life, from Jhansi Ki Rani to Indira Gandhi to Mother Teresa and many others.

These women make us believe in a world with possibilities, a world where women have equal opportunities, a world that is better not just for women but for everyone. According to IMF, if the number of women who joined the workforce in India were to increase the level of men, India’s GDP would grow by 27%.

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