Pallavi: India faces a high burden of adolescent mental health issues- 1 in 5 adolescents in India suffer from mental morbidity. Anxiety and fear for the future have increased significantly during COVID-19. Depression-related illnesses peak in adolescence, just as gender norms are being consolidated. Indian adolescents face high gender discrimination (40% of adolescents girls in India drop out of school) and have problematic gender attitudes (42% of adolescent boys agree to violence being a medium of control).
Renu: Thanks so much for having me, Spiffy. Well, according to the 2020 World Economic Forum report, India stands at 149 of the 153 countries surveyed in the economic participation and opportunities for women. At STEP we are trying to build a gender equitable world where all women entrepreneurs are empowered. Our purpose is to create a supportive environment for women-led early stage (social) startups to help them survive the initial phase which is the most difficult part of one's entrepreneurial journey. Our mission is to support 1,000 such enterprises over the next ten years.
Akruti: In 2020, we are in a seemingly more divided world than ever. By bringing culture to the playroom in the form of books and puzzles, I am giving children the tools they need to understand their own culture, share it with others, and build empathy to bring us closer together. It’s not always easy, but when I hear parents tell me that their children request my stories about Indian culture before bed or as a treat, and that they share these stories with their friends and family, I am even more motivated to accomplish my mission.
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