More Women's Participation Needed In Labour Force: Survey

Only 24 per cent of the paid labour force in India comprises women -- far lower than the global figure at 40 per cent, finds a McKinsey Global Institute survey on labour participation and economic growth.

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International Labour Organisation

Only 24 per cent of the paid labour force in India comprises women -- far lower than the global figure at 40 per cent, finds a McKinsey Global Institute survey on labour participation and economic growth. The participation of females have been less than males even after the increase in economically active population from 57.7 per cent to 63.3. per cent between 1991 and 2013, according to the Sample Registration System Data, 2013.


The female labour force participation rate is supposed to show an increase from 26.9 per cent to 28.3 per cent in 2016, as per estimates provided by the International Labour Organisation's Trends Projections Model 2030.

A book, edited by Sukti Dasgupta and Sher Singh Verick, called Transformation of Women at Work in Asia: An Unfinished Development Agenda talks about the hurdles and limitations of women's participation in the Asian labour force. The problem of under-representation of women in labour force has always been an issue in India, and this research tells us exactly why.

Sher Singh Verick, deputy director of the ILO Decent Work Team for South Asia and Country Office for India, spoke to Livemint about this issue and goes on to say that even though India has been growing at 8 per cent per annum, women are not part of this growth cycle. The labour force data shows that there has been a fall in women's participation and this also includes work in agriculture. Even if there is a transition of working in different sectors now, the new growth story says little of where women are contributing.

He is quoted saying that women have not benefited from any economic proliferation. He says, "We have women’s employment declining in rural areas. So men are getting jobs. We can question the quality of those jobs, but they are getting jobs. The issue is that the women are withdrawing and not joining other sectors in healthy numbers."

Video Volunteer started a Twitter chat recently around ILO's report and this is what the Twitter family had to say on the issue:


My Take

With technology and the digital world, people have become more informed. Social norms are being challenged and this is a good change that every backward and orthodox society needs to witness. These changes that bring gender parity should not only be the government's goal, but every individual's goal.

Feature Image Courtesy: SlideShare

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