An Oxfam India report revealed that the low participation of women in India’s labour force is largely due to gender discrimination. It revealed that despite having the same educational qualification and work experience as men, women were discriminated against in the labour market.
The Oxfam India’s India Discrimination Report 2022 showed that gender discrimination caused 100 percent of the employment inequality faced by women in rural areas and 98 percent in urban areas. The report says that 95 percent of the wage gap between male and female casual wage workers is due to discrimination.
The report read, “Women in India despite their same educational qualification and work experience as men will be discriminated in the labour market to societal and employers’ prejudices.”
The Oxfam India report also found that a sizable segment of qualified women was unable to join the labour market due to “family responsibilities” and the need to conform to social norms. Household responsibilities and social stigma attached to working women hinder a large number of educated qualified women.
The report said, “All women regardless of their socioeconomic location are highly discriminated.”
Indian Women In Workforce
The report quantified the discrimination faced by women in the labour market. The lower wages for salaried women is 98 percent due to discrimination and 2 percent due to lack of education and work experience. Self-employed men earn 4 to 5 times higher than women.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Oxfam India Amitabh Behar said in a statement, “What the report finds is if a man and woman starts on an equal footing, the women will be discriminated in the economic sphere where she will lag behind in regular/salaries, casual and self-employment.”
Based on Oxfam’s research and government data, the report said that to close the gap in women’s labour participation, the government would have to offer incentives for better pay, training and job quotas to employers to encourage hiring more women.
The report added that historically oppressed communities such as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Dalits and Adivasis along with religious minorities such as Muslims also face discrimination in accessing jobs and livelihoods.