Analysis: What We Need To Do to Really Empower and Enable Women in India
By Vidya Shah
In the last two decades, India has witnessed a massive decline in women’s participation in the workforce. World Bank estimates, the female labour force participation rate in India decreased from 26 percent in 2005 to 20.3 percent in 2019. While this figure may seem alarming, there is substantial data to prove that this drastic decline was to be expected. The socio-economic and cultural constraints imposed on women, and the limited employment opportunities available to them have caused a multi-sectional and adverse impact on their development. The fallout is clearly highlighted in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021, where India still ranks 140 out of 153 countries. This is further corroborated by the contribution of Indian women to the GDP which stands at 18 percent as opposed to the global average of 37 percent, with only 14 percent of women opting for careers as entrepreneurs. An increase in domestic duties, limited mobility, and constant surveillance by families and community members (more so in the light of Covid-19), has only made it more difficult for women to assert themselves and claim their financial independence.
Photo courtesy of ILO in Asia and the Pacific.