India is the seventh-largest economy in the world, with a GDP of $2.72 trillion. But a majority of our women, sadly, are out of the workforce. According to the most recent data available to the World Bank, India has only 24 percent of women in the workforce. This is way lower than our neighbouring countries Nepal (82 percent), Bangladesh (36 percent), Bhutan (58 percent), and Afghanistan (49 percent).

Key Takeaways:

  • According to a report by the World Bank, India has only 24 percent of females in the workforce.
  • Less developed neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan have a better ratio of women in the workforce than India.
  • India’s poor-performance in women at the workplace can be attributed to the safety and harassment issues.
  • According to a survey in June 2019, 53 percent of women have experienced sexual comments, gestures, and jokes at the workplace. 
  • The Thomsons Reuters Survey labelled India as the most dangerous country in the world for cultural traditions that impact women. The same survey labelled India in the fourth position, seven years ago.
Indian female labour force 2019
Indian female labour force data/ Gender Fact

The latest NSSO data on youth (15-29) years shows that women’s participation has dropped from 37.01 per cent in 2004-05 and 24.4 per cent in 2011-12 to just 16.4 per cent in 2017-18.

GDP Higher Than Neighbouring Countries, Women Participation Low

Nepal has women’s participation in the workforce as high as 82 percent. However, its GDP is $28,812 million, as of 2018. It occupies the 102nd position in the GDP ranking of 196 countries. India on the other hand, has a GDP of $2,690 billion and occupies the seventh position in the same GDP rankings.  But it lags behind in encouraging its women to enter the workforce.

Female labour workforce in Asia
Female labour workforce in Asia/ Gender Fact

Addressing a women leadership conclave organised by the CII Indian Women Network on Wednesday, Priti Adani, wife of Adani Group head Gautam Adani, said, “In our country, for every 10 earning men, there were only three working women in 2018. This ratio is very low. It is much lower than our neighbouring countries such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh and abysmally below Bhutan… Similarly, there is a stark difference in literacy rates. The 2011 census shows that the men are ahead by a clear 16 percent in literacy ratio over women.”

Read More: Way To Growth Is To Get More Women Into Workforce: Rajiv Anand

The new maternity leaves provision of 26 weeks, as against the earlier duration of three months has also proved to be a disadvantage for women in the workforce, when competing for a job against males.

India’s Disregard To Crimes Against Women

A number of factors collectively have contributed to the downfall in the number of women entering the workforce. One of such factors is sexual assault and harassment at the workplace. Another reason is the maternity leave, R.P. Yadav, CMD Genius Consultant Ltd. told The Outlook. The new maternity leaves provision of 26 weeks, as against the earlier duration of three months has also proved to be a disadvantage for women in the workforce, when competing for a job against males. Moreover, many women also decide to quit and never return to the job after maternity leaves, which too has led to being a negative factor in women’s employment opportunities, he adds.

According to Outlook, the latest NSSO data on youth (15-29) years shows that women’s participation has dropped from 37.01 per cent in 2004-05 and 24.4 per cent in 2011-12 to just 16.4 per cent in 2017-18.

Picture Credit: Livemint

Read More: India Should Increase Women Workforce To 48%: Amitabh Kant, Niti Aayog

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