The study named 'Female Labour Force Participation in India', was conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) along with knowledge firm Thought Arbitrage Research Institute (TARI) in Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
"UP has the highest percentage (67.5 per cent) of self-employed women in urban areas among the states selected for study, however UP has the largest gap between urban and rural workers among these states," said DS Rawat, Secretary General of ASSOCHAM while releasing the findings of the study.
"Of 33.17 lakhs women employed in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) across India, UP employs over two lakhs," Rawat said. "UP also has the highest absolute number of workers both men and women --498.5 lakhs and about 159.7 lakhs respectively, however it also accounts for the largest gender gap of about 338.8 lakhs people," he added.
Initiatives like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Make in India, Start-up India and others are a positive step in the direction to improve women labour force participation in India, the study said.
The ASSOCHAM-TARI study suggests that promoting skill training programmes for women, creating employment opportunities across India, setting up child care centres in large numbers, ensuring women safety and security in every sphere through efforts by both the Central and state governments are imperative to boost women labour force participation in India.
It analysed India's performance in women labour force participation (FLFP) in comparison with the rest of the world and identified factors that determine FLFP in India along with barriers to its growth.
It presents a state-wise analysis of FLFP in four states selected on a non-arbitrary criteria with a special focus on UP as it is India's most populous state.
It pointed out that though there was a spurt in the number of working women in India during 2000-2005, increasing from 34 per cent to 37 per cent, the FLFP rate declined continuously thereafter and reached 27 per cent in 2014.
The gap between rural men and women labour force participation in India in 2011 stood at about 30 per cent while in urban centres gap was more pronounced (about 40 per cent).
This can be attributed to social and cultural curtailment and often the lack of work opportunities, it said. It was also highlighted that in India, marriage decreases the probability of women labour force participation by about eight per cent in rural areas and more than twice as much in urban areas.