The Sustainable Development Goals embody a worldwide consensus on the importance of maintaining the conditions that will make life on this planet possible and guarantee a future of human well-being. This has given rise to the circular economy as an alternative model.
The circular economy is an economic method that is regenerative or actively restorative. It replaces the end-of-life idea with regeneration, moves towards the use of renewable energy, removes the use of hazardous chemicals that impair re-use and return to the biosphere, and seeks to reduce waste through the superior nature of materials, goods, processes, and business models.This is a trillion-dollar market, with an enormous capacity for creativity, employment development, and growth. For businesses, companies, organizations, economics, and culture as a whole, a circular economy provides a broader variety of possibilities and challenges.
A model like this requires the input of every aspect of the population it affects in order to produce the best result. This means that every group of the population, including women and the LGBTQ+ community hold substantial value in terms of contributing to the economy and development. The gender perspective and the ethics of caring if included in Circular Economy mechanisms will not only make the working of the economy smooth but also help in kick starting the cycle of sustainable development.
However, how crucial is gender equality in a circular economy? Strength, consideration, and ingenuity are the foundations of a circular economy. Countless women across the world demonstrate this each day in their efforts to serve their families and communities. As many of them already are, by making small investments in information and ability essential to responsible practices of productiveness and consumption, women will become engines and brains of the circular economy and circulatory culture. It will be of absolute importance in all phases, from families and neighbourhoods to business and politics.
Women have a role to play in this change in structure at all levels – across supply chains and economies – and to adopt more sustainable business structures that blend with advantages and positive social impacts. Living in a circular economy means having sensible choices. The circular economy provides us with amazing opportunities to introduce new ethical norms in business and fine-tune the balance between profit and social responsibility. Women pioneers in diverse sectors have now been seen to be keen to continue further to make corporate activities more competitive, along with a strong social impact.
There are a variety of creative, socially sensitive, smart companies that offer inspiring examples of women and children. Otro Tiempo converts used cooking oil into biodiesel in Spain where women survivors of gender-based abuse are working and motivated. BeeUrban operates facilities such as pollination beehives, biodiversity gardens, and roof farms in Sweden. These proactive women take steps to combat both climate change and gender and economic gaps.
Engaging women in the circular economy and raising awareness of sustainable consumption and promoting engagement in leadership and management positions is invaluable to the development of good circular systems. A drive towards a more circular economy can be built to promote equality between men and women. As women are often segregated into low-wage, low-security and restricted social mobility jobs, the growth of green jobs as part of the circular economy is an opportunity to empower women.
But how does it operate in societies like India's? India's conventional take-make-waste linear economic approach would also lead to significant ecological loss and adverse economic and social implications. Due to the pandemic, the economy has suffered and is now in a weathered state. Revival through a circular model of the economy seems to be the perfect option for ensuring the well-being of Indian markets.
The move to a circular economy would offer about 624 billion US dollars of economic benefits, according to Ellen McArthur Foundations, and will bring about a 44 percent decrease in carbon emissions alone by 2050. The Central Government, in cooperation with state governments, must establish a plan to institutionalize a circular pattern of economic development for the country as part of the sweeping economic reforms announced following the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the sake of environmental security and the well-being of their communities, women are ready to alter their everyday habits. They are more influential in decisions that specifically impact family practices, power use, or production of waste, food and garments, heating, packaging reuse, clothing reparations, waste separation, etc. In the end, women want more energy and patience than men
This is exactly what India needs right now. Transition to ways of more sustainable and recyclable consumption habits, which not only help the environment but also facilitate sustainable development and make the economy grow. A gender-inclusive circular model would be beneficial for a country like India. But the implementation of such a model would require a highly regulated implementation and also an unbiased attitude.
Even though India is becoming increasingly progressive, several sections of the society still frown upon the sight of a woman working. The bias of superiority or an unaddressed notion of incapability due to existing gender biases, adds even more fuel to the fire.
Different surveys have shown gender bias in India. More than 72 percent of women believe that gender inequality is widespread at work, according to a TeamLease survey. They attribute unfairness to advantages that men enjoy in both the company, the cultures, practices for men, the masculine ecosystem, and skewed routes to success in their professions.
In 2018 the Indian Women Network Confederation of Indian Industry (IWN) along with Ernst and Young initiated a pan-India survey of organizations. According to the poll, 16% indicated that no women had taken part in the board and 47% reported that only 5% were female executives. In the absence of women on board, 16% of companies appear to suffer from gender equity, in particular in senior roles, despite significantly growing numbers of women working in India, the survey says.
The work seekers in this field are influenced by a variety of roadblocks and structural prejudice. India does not provide these citizens of the nation with effective employment safeguards. With these existing biases, the functioning of a circular model will surely become difficult.
The earth is not our property, we come from it and are heavily dependent on it. Both the planet and, inevitably, us humans are profiting or losing from our actions. But we perceive it to be a disposable commodity and believe that the universe belongs to us. A circular economy is only achievable through policy intervention around the board – in government policies.
Achieving sustainable development and gender equality may entail trading in various social classes, which must be debated publicly. The social component of development – too often ignored – needs to be completely embedded in such agreements and states and other influential players have to be accountable.
Gender equality for many economies like India could be the first step to facilitating sustainable development with the help of a circular model of the economy. This is because the engagement of more and more workforce in the employment sectors is an essential requirement for this kind of model to work and also an essential way to kick start a nation’s journey on the path of sustainable development.
Even though the implementation may seem like a highly difficult task, the revival of the economy through a gender-inclusive circular economy could seriously help the Indian economy. Gender equality as a concept is of extreme importance to the circular economy and also helps in facilitating subsequent Sustainable Development.
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