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  • 06 June, 2021

  • Min Read

Status of women in India

Status of women in India

According to the WEF report, raising women’s participation in the labour force can increase India’s GDP significantly. A working woman creates a lot more employment in the economy thus providing a source of livelihood for others.

  • The declining women’s labour force participation, gender pay gap, and high rates of informal work with a lack of social security are seen as impediments to the goal of gender equality and the empowerment of women in India.

Factors for Low Workforce Participation of Women

  • There are multiple factors responsible for low women's participation in the workforce ranging from patriarchy and stereotypes in society to a lack of enabling and safe environment for working women.
  • According to the All-India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) report 2018-19, the gender gap in the country narrowed as compared to the previous year, i.e. 2017-18. The girl students have outnumbered the men in eight disciplines. However, these women are either marrying early or not looking for jobs.

Shrinking Agriculture Sector:

  • Labour Force Participation data by NSSO shows a decline in the number of women in the workforce is accounted for mainly by rural women.
  • The shrinking of the agriculture sector is the reason for the pulldown in the figures in India.
  • Also, the manufacturing sector is not so robust to absorb job losses from the agriculture sector.

Infrastructure Issues:

  • Smart cities, safer commuting options, a workforce and work setting plan which enables women to also raise families, are the primary drivers of the way women respond to working options in urban spaces.

Stereotypical Gender Roles:

  • Jobs with undefined nature of work such as factory jobs are thought to be male-dominated and women are discouraged to go on that turf.
  • Women are expected to play the set gender roles specifically that of parenting after a certain age.
  • Women workforce in the country fell to 18 per cent in 2019 from 37 per cent in 2006, Non- government organisation Azad Foundation said on International Women’s Day.
  • The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report this year ranks India at 149th position out of 153 countries in economic participation and opportunity.

According to the Foundation, the Global Gender Gap Report estimates that raising women’s participation in the labour force can increase India’s GDP significantly.

  • The declining women’s labour force participation, gender pay gap, and high rates of informal work with a lack of social security are seen as impediments to the goal of gender equality and empowerment of women in India.
  • Over the last few years, more women have taken up Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics courses and are aspiring to enter the workforce.

Key findings:

  • 79% of all PhDs scholars in India are women and it is a good sign which was not been seen in previous decades.
  • Irrespective of employment category (casual and regular/salaried), organised or unorganised sector, and location (urban and rural), women workers in India are paid a lower wage rate.
  • The percentage of UG degrees that women hold is about 56% and PhDs are 42%.
  • The gender pay gap was 34 per cent in India, that is, women get 34 per cent less compared to men for performing the same job with the same qualifications.
  • In the organised sector, women professionals even in the highest ranks of labour (legislators, senior officials, and managers) are also paid less compared to their male counterparts. However, these women constitute only one per cent of the total female workforce and the gap is lowest as they are aware of their rights.
  • The wage difference is lesser for more skilled workers and more for semi-skilled or unskilled workers.
  • Across enterprise type, wage difference is less for government/public sector and more public/private limited company.
  • Large pay gaps in terms of average daily wages exist in male and female wage rates of casual and regular workers in rural and urban areas and the gap is narrower for regular workers in urban areas. On the other hand, for casual workers, wage gap is narrower in rural areas.
  • While inequality in jobs has increased, inequality in education has decreased between boys and girls.
  • But this situation further exacerbates the crisis in jobs when it comes to women. Even as girls frequently outperform boys in school examinations, they are not finding suitable jobs for the skills that they have.
  • While both men and women are diversifying out of agriculture, almost 75 per cent of rural women are still engaged in it.
  • A patriarchal ideology and local socio-cultural traditions confine women to the village where agriculture continues to be their most important (but insufficient) source of food and income.
  • Male outmigration has also pushed women into taking on more responsibility of own cultivation and to perform wage labour to ensure households’ daily survival.


  • Women have a different way of looking at things and this important
  • If more women did paid work, India’s national income would rise dramatically. Money gets circulated as more people are employed for cooking, cleaning at home
  • One estimate is that GDP would go up by 20% if women matched men in workforce participation.
  • In the family qualities like independence, interdependence, tolerance, disciple, time management, multi tasking etc all this qualities she can learn and teach to her family better incase she works.Enhances a woman’s control over household decision-making.

Providing greater impetus to women entrepreneurs would be critical for India’s growth.Women entrepreneurs help drive innovation and job creation, besides assisting in addressing the world’s most critical challenges.


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