What You Should Know About Role Of Women In India's Economic Growth

India has come a long way and women of the country have worked equivalently hard for it, and if we cannot banish the gender gap entirely, the least we can do is acknowledge their effort in the country's growth story.

Gunjan Nagpal
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Looking back at Indian history makes us realise how much the country has progressed from being enslaved to now leaving a mark globally. We have accomplished a hefty task. However, this curve of growth did come with its set of highs and lows. It makes me wonder whether our history books do justice to the eventful history India has witnessed for all I recall is a dry and impersonal bunch of words.

Moreover, women contributed to the building of India, and there is no mention of them which makes me question their credibility. As students, everything we're taught is male-dominated content. Women form 48.04% female populace yet their contributions are explained in two paragraphs undermining their contribution.

Thus, it's essential to keep revisiting and skimming through those archives that have tried to expand those two paragraphs of our history books. India has come a long way and women of the country have worked equivalently hard for it, and if we cannot banish the gender gap entirely, the least we can do is acknowledge their effort in the country's growth story.

Women's Contribution To Indian Economy

Although as a nation we have low female labour force participation, women have still contributed to the country's GDP. Women contribute 18% of the country's GDP; with better opportunities for women, the rate can improve. Indian economy is still largely agrarian, at least in rural India, and the women's contribution has made agriculture thrive; it is women who contribute more to heavy manual tasks. According to the census of 2011, 97.6 million females work in the agricultural sector which makes it about 37% of the total agricultural workforce.

Growth does not have to be all about numbers. It also comes from changing the regressive social structure of a country and challenging the prejudices. In that aspect, Indian women have played a major role in changing the outlook of the country. Some of the biggest foundations engaged in ground-breaking work including philanthropy are women-led.

Science and technology are crucial to the country's growth and so are the women working there. The proportion of women pursuing science is significant but converting it into a full-time career is low. At the same time, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t doing notable work in the field. Many women of our country have presented India on a global stage and their innovations have helped in growth.


When we talk about growth, it is also essential to take into account the effect of growth on the environment. 80% of people that are displaced by climate change are women. Women are more vulnerable to the consequences of environmental degradation. Therefore, a lot of women have emerged as saviours of the environment. Due to this, the concept of ecofeminism has also gained popularity in recent times.

Women are often treated as risk-averse human beings. But the growth trajectory of the country shows that there has been a significant increase in number of women entrepreneurs and if the numbers keep going up, their contribution to the Indian economy would be noteworthy. Research also shows that ventures started by women are more sustainable.

Perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks of economic policies and everything surrounding it is that they do not include household work done by women. Care work comprises crucial tasks that sustain life on earth yet they are not counted in the GDP of the country. Moreover, women are prime workers in this economy hence, it is to be duly noted that the overall functioning of the country is directly related to women working in the care economy.

Suggested Reading: Why care work should not be invisible in our economic life?


Additionally, we need to acknowledge that whatever we have achieved with respect to reducing gender disparities in our country, women have played a major role in that. For stimulating gender-based growth in the country, many female leaders have come up with policies that promote equality alongside equity.

While mapping the growth trajectory of a country like India, it is not possible that we do not include cultural growth in it. Women, since the beginning of time, have been an integral part of India's culture promotion. Some art forms are exclusive to the community of women and today those art forms have acquired a global stage, also becoming a source of income for the country.

Gender diversity is integral in every sphere of life. Participation of women in defence has gained momentum in recent times and that has led to coping with the shortage of young cadets. The participation of women in such roles also helped in breaking gender stereotypes and ensuring inclusive growth for the country.

For the last many decades, we have been trying to achieve gender equality but how would it be possible when conversations surrounding women in the country at the base level are almost negligible. How is it that today a primary class kid knows Mahatma Gandhi and Jawahar Lal Nehru but would not recognize Savitri bai Phule and Sarojini Naidu?

We need intention and investment. Intention to bridge the gender gap and investment to provide women with opportunities that they deserve. Women have contributed so much to the country's growth yet they have to fight to get their due credit. It's high time we acknowledge their efforts and high time for India's growth story to rewrite itself!

The views expressed are the author's own

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