Kerala will set up India’s first international women’s trade centre (iWTC), in consonance with the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs), in Kozhikode. A key project of the state’s gender park under the department of social justice, it is envisaged as a safe space away from home for women to harness their entrepreneurial capabilities, set up or expand their businesses and get their products marketed globally. The first phase of iWTC, being executed under the gender park’s “Vision 2020”, is scheduled to be completed by 2021.
  1. It is significant that the gender park has unveiled iWTC project at a time when more and more women are foraying into entrepreneurship and exploring other self-employment options in Kerala.
  2. The overall scheme of iWTC would be that of a world class shopping destination, encompassing within its ambit a string of outlets catering to the needs of women entrepreneurs.
  3. The facility will have women’s start-up and incubation centre, retail fashion and technology outlets, health & wellness centers, business centres and offices, conference/convention/exhibition spaces, performing arts centre, residential suites and day care for seniors and children.
  4. Besides serving as a facilitator to launch their own ventures, iWTC will enable women entrepreneurs to come forward and participate in international trade, enjoy greater economic benefits and enhance their competitiveness to tap market opportunities.
  5. Its special emphasis will be on hand-holding and bringing economically backward women, marginalized groups, women with disabilities and transgenders to the forefront by helping to harness and nurture their entrepreneurial capabilities.
  6. In September 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda, which includes 17 SDGs to transform the world, building on the principle of “leaving no one behind.” 
  7. It is a call for action by all countries to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. The iWTC is conceived in line with the aims of SDGs like efforts to end poverty in all its forms, provide good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality and women’s empowerment, innovation and infrastructure and reduced inequality.
  8. The first-of-its-kind facility in India where women’s ventures and startups can be incubated in a high-tech space, it will offer fully automated private and shared office spaces, virtual work spaces, common secretarial services, state-of-the-art communication facilities, and business guidance centers for setting up trade or business.
  9. A salient feature of iWTC will be crèches and daycare centres for kids and adult and senior community centres for the elderly so that women can focus on their jobs without worrying about their children and aged parents. 
  10. Transportation will be available for women who work late and short-stay accommodation for those who wish to stay back and finish their work.