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Lakshmi Puri is a former Assistant Secretary-General at the United Nations and the former Deputy Executive Director of UN Women. She was Director of the flagship International Trade division and Acting Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Prior to her 15-year stint at the United Nations, she served as an Indian diplomat for 28 years. She continued with her trade and economic policy work when she joined the United Nations in 2002 as the Director of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) flagship Division on Trade in goods, services and commodities. In this capacity for eight years, she led the work of the organisation in making trade work for development in all its dimensions and, in particular, for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. She became Acting Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD (2007 to 2009) and steered two important UNCTAD Conferences: UNCTAD XI in São Paulo and UNCTAD XII in Accra. Puri was appointed Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of the pioneering global entity for promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women - UNWOMEN in 2011. She has been active in conceptualisation and public advocacy spanning, key areas of sustainable development including poverty eradication, food security and agriculture, water, energy, urban development, education, trade in goods, services, and commodities investment and intellectual property rights regimes, migration and refugees, climate change and humanitarian actions. Puri has also received international awards and accolades for her work and contribution to international development, human rights, humanitarian, peace and security policy making and norm setting. These include the prestigious Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award, Novus Award for Championing the Sustainable Development Goals, the Millennium Campus Award 2015 and Global Generation Award as Inspiration for Youth.
Women and Work
Lakshmi Puri and Pragya Tiwari in conversation
Indian women’s participation in the workplace is decreasing, with the pandemic creating further fault-lines. A rebalance in the workforce could help kickstart economic growth and also pay social dividends. Lakshmi Puri and Pragya Tiwari discuss the evolution of the concepts of women’s work and women at work , under-representation of women in formal workforce and devaluation of their work, flagging the causes and consequences of the roadblocks they face as well as the way forward to correct these imbalances.