Participation of women as the economically productive workforce:
53 percent of all the fresh graduates in India, in the year 2018-2019 were women. As per All India Survey of Higher education, the enrolment of women for higher education has increased to 49 percent in 2018 to 2019 as against 44 percent in the year 2011 to 2012 This is indeed is a clear indicator that India has made considerable progress in women education. Yet this pool of women talent transforming into the driving workforce is distressingly less. India’s Female Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) was 20.8 percent in 2019, as per data from the World Bank.
India has seen a steep decline in Female Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR), It has fallen to 20.8 percent in 2019 as against 30.27 percent in 1990.India’s Female LFPR is very less
The fact that such a large pool of literate, qualified and talented women workforce is still aloof in the effort to boost economy is a clear indication to analyse how to judiciously harvest this talent or rather what might be the causes that women participation in the workforce is so low.
There might be two chief causes of this dwindling Female LFPR –
- Societal Norms
- Difficulties faced by women to enter and retain in the labour market
In some communities, women face a lot of resistance to work and participate in the workforce. This resistance is mainly due to societal taboo about women working outside the house. In addition to this the women might be subjected to take care of the household responsibly. Many women find it difficult to harmonize the trade off between family responsibilities and work. The unpaid house work and parenting are still seen as a woman’s primary duty while men are entitled as the bread winners of the family. This might be a chief cause which discourage women to participate in the labour pool.
Women with lower family incomes are subjected to forced labour due to financial pressures while a few women drop out once the income is stable. While few educated women in India still face mismatch in the opportunities and exposure provided to them based on their talent and skill set. Other concerns are safety at work place, security of tenure- owing to maternal leaves, the pay parity, maintaining work and household balance and societal pressure.
Regardless of the countless barrier women have faced to participate and retain in the workforce, women have found their way out and reached the pinnacle of their career. May these women be the torch bearers and inspire the future generations and create opportunities for them. For India cannot afford the productivity loss by missing out such a large chunk of women workforce. New laws, policies and change in societal outlook are kindling the spark for necessary transformation to include more and more women in productive workforce. But we still have a long way to go and encourage women participation as much as we can. And as they say, charity begins at home! Let us start by empowering ourselves and many more future generations to come, not for the sake of feminism or gender equality, but to lead a fulfilling, independent and exemplary life.