Women’s empowerment and their economic contributions is a crucial link in achieving the sustainable development goals, said former Finland President Tarja Halonen here on Thursday.

“Women can be important opinion makers since they play a crucial role in households and in other parts of society such as in schools, hospitals and senior citizen homes,” she said, adding that women determine consumption behaviour in a household. “In India, it is particularly crucial due to the very high levels of education.”

Ms. Halonen was speaking at the 13{+t}{+h}Delhi Sustainable Development Forum organised by The Energy and Resources Institute, where she highlighted the role of the consumption patterns of “half the world’s population.” She also stressed that more importance can be given to the Rio+20’s gender equality outcomes which states that “sustainable development is linked to and depends on women’s economic contributions, both formal and informal and that persistent social and economic inequalities continue to affect women and children, who make up the majority of those living in poverty.”

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