By Sonal Desai –
Mumbai (November 1, 2023) – The participation of women in India’s workforce saw a 30 percent growth and increased to 37 percent in FY2022-23, as against 23 percent in FY2017-18.
PM Narendra Modi’s women-focused schemes have helped in raising the participation of women in the workforce.
Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also asserted at a Rozgar Mela that women are more industrious than men. “There has been balanced growth in society as there has been a rise in women’s participation in the workforce.”
The data aligns with a recent report that highlights the upward trend in women’s labor force participation rate (LFPR) based on annual periodic labor force survey (PLFS) reports.
According to the most recent Annual PLFS Reports available, India’s estimated LFPR on usual status for women aged 15 and over was 30.0%, 32.5%, and 32.8% in 2019–20, 2020–21, and 2021–22, respectively.
As per Statista, the female labor force participation rate in India increased by one percentage point (+4.35 percent) in 2022 in comparison to the previous year. In total, the rate amounted to 23.97 percent in 2022. Female labor force participation is the share of women over 15 who are economically active.
The Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, also known as the Women’s Reservation Bill 2023, passed by both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, reserving one-third of seats in the Delhi assembly, State Legislatures, and Lok Sabha, will boost women’s participation in governance.
A Barclays report highlights the importance of increased female workforce participation and improved labor productivity through upskilling for India’s goal of an 8% GDP growth rate by 2030.
Over the past decade, the Indian IT sector has seen a significant rise in female employees, now comprising 36% of the overall workforce. This is in addition to the high rate of female workforce in nursing, social services, employment, education, and child care services.
According to market reports, TCS’s workforce comprises 36% women, with a 60% increase in senior women executives over five years, while Infosys’ workforce comprises 39.4% female employees. The share of women in the workforce for Wipro increased from 36.1% in fiscal 2022 to 36.4% in fiscal 2023, with a net addition of 13,793 employees.
The Central Initiatives have boosted women’s workforce participation, prioritizing leadership and policy-making roles. Upskilling and reskilling are crucial for women to adapt to evolving technologies, the minister said.
Additionally, creating jobs and enhancing employability are top priorities for the government. In light of this, the Indian government has implemented several initiatives aimed at creating jobs within the nation.
The Code on Social Security, 2020: allows women to work night shifts with proper safety precautions, increased paid maternity leave from 12 to 26 weeks, and mandatory crèche facilities in establishments with 50 or more employees.
The Code on Occupational Safety, Health, and Working Conditions (OSH), 2020: Women may work in aboveground mines, including opencast mines, between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m., and in belowground mines, between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m., in technical, supervisory, and managerial positions where constant presence may not be necessary.
The 2019 Code on Wages: Prohibits discrimination based on gender or sex in employment, including wages for similar work; prohibits discrimination unless prohibited by law; and requires employers to recruit employees for similar work.
Additionally, employers are not allowed to discriminate based on a worker’s sex when hiring someone for the same job or a similar job with the same terms of employment, except in situations in which it is illegal or restricted for women to be employed in such jobs at this time.
The GoI has taken significant initiatives to integrate women into the workforce. The codes have the right intent. But what is happening at ground level? Is there a system in place to monitor whether the codes are being implemented? To what extent and what is the impact?
No doubt, the 30 percent rise of women in the workforce is an encouraging number. Data, too is available. What is now required is a pause:
Pause to evaluate the strategies announced and their impact.
A pause to gauge whether the policy needs a tweak and what can be done
A pause to involve the impacted women and query them about what they want and whether their needs are included in the policy.
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