Women Participation in the Labour Force of India

The dialectic between Man and Woman is ceaseless and the disparities faced by Woman is endless. The biggest concern that is taking away women empowerment is Pandemic, where women participation is dwindling. As per ILO, in 2019, female labour force participation in India was 23.5%, according to ILO estimates.

The epidemic has exacerbated the issue. It has disproportionately affected women, whether because they work in the hardest-hit industries, work more in the informal economy than males, or are the primary caretakers at home.

India holds 112th place in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index. This is due to 70 lakh Indian women leaving work due to the following reasons: 

  • Stereotyping in Patriarchal Society: The typical societal norms like women should stay at home and nurse their child. As a result, women are always at odds over how much time they should devote to work, and life has become a war that is sapping them.

  • Digital Divide: The incongruity between Men and Women using the Internet is even more with 67 per cent and 33 per cent respectively. This imbalance can affect women to gain access to vital education, health, and financial services, as well as to succeed in increasingly digital activities and industries.

  • Technological Interruption: AI and other technologies threaten to takeover most administrative and data-processing positions currently held by women. The burden on women will increase as ordinary occupations are mechanised, and they will face increasing unemployment rates.

  • Absence of Gender-Related Data: A thorough comprehensive evaluation of girls’ lives in India is impossible due to severe gaps in data on the female child.

  • A consequence of Covid-19: Female employment is 19% more vulnerable than male employment globally, and women in India were 9.5 per cent less likely to be working in August 2020 than in August 2019, compared to males.

The road ahead seems rocky but there are ways to make women condition better for today and tomorrow:

  • Full-Time Child Care: The Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) “Sangini’s Centres” offer full-day child care for children aged 0 to 5, as well as nutrition, health, and child care. Similar centres should be greatly expanded as a result.

  • Bridging Digital Divide: Partnerships between the public and commercial sectors will be most successful in addressing the issue. 

    Affordability of phones and computers, female digital literacy and its social context, and a lack of technical material devoted to women and girls will all require action.
  • Flexible Working: The pandemic has introduced us to the Work from Home model and maybe we can take a lesson or two from this. 

    Increased maternity leave and mandated paternity leave are examples of diversity and inclusion measures that Indian industries may implement. Women’s right to and choice of employment is dependent on companies continuing to adopt flexible working.
  • Fiscal Incentives: Lower-income taxes for women can incentivise their involvement since they have a higher elasticity of labour supply than males (their labour supply is more responsive to their take-home pay).

  • Encouraging Women Entrepreneurship: The creation of new work possibilities is urgently required. However, encouraging more women to start businesses is a long-term answer.

    Women’s entrepreneurship has the potential to alter India’s economy and society by creating employment, stimulating innovation, and increasing investment in health and education.

  • Prioritizing Gender Statistics: Making Every Woman and Girl Count is a UN Women initiative that was established in 2016 to assist in prioritising gender data, guarantee frequent production of high-quality, comparable gender statistics, and ensure that data is accessible and utilised to influence policy.

Proper Education, Stopping Stereotypes in society and Equal Pay must be enshrined in the Constitution of India. We need the participation of women as much as men for the development of the nation at the economic and social level. 

As a result, in a society where young women’s education is now on a level with men’s, disregarding the fact that half of the population isn’t equally involved in the economy means we’re missing out on opportunities for innovation, entrepreneurship, and productivity growth.

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