Women still not at par with men: Why women’s participation in the workforce very depressing in India

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Women’s participation in the workforce very depressing in India.
Gone are those days when women was not allowed to step outside home to work and earn. Today more and more women are stepping out to earn a livelihood but sadly, this number is not really big. Reports show that even today women's participation in the workforce is very low. This is not the situation of a country or a particular city but it prevails everywhere in the world. And in India, the condition is more grim.

If we talk about the national capital Delhi, then as per the sixth economic census report on Delhi-2013, released by the directorate of economics and statistics of Delhi government on Friday, women only account for 12 percent of city's workforce. A report in TOI said, " Delhi accounts for 1.53% of establishments and 2.34% of the total employment in the country. Of the total people employed by establishments in the city, 26,20,993 were male while 3,63,857 were females. With women forming only 12.19% of the city's workforce, Delhi is way behind the national average of 25.56%. For every woman employed in an establishment, there are seven men that are hired."

In the report, an establishment has been classified as a unit that is "situated in a single location in which predominantly one kind of economic activity is carried out such that at least a part of the goods and/or services produced by the unit goes for sale".

India has the lowest workforce participation rate of women among the BRICS countries

India's position seems fixed at the bottom, when we talk about ranking of our country in women's economic participation. According to a World Economic Forum (WEF) report from 2013, India ranks 124 out of 136 nations.

Not only this, even more startling fact was revealed by UN gender statistics. It said that , "In the last decade, India is one of the few countries where the rate of participation of women in the workforce has drastically declined." Rather than increasing it went down to 27% in 2012 from 33.7% in 1991.

Number of educated women increased but still a low workforce participation

The figures of educated women has definitely grown manifold, but sadly it has not translated into a proportionate increase of women in the workforce. Why is it happening that despite studying, getting educated women are coming out to work. It might be because of many reasons like harassment at work or the safety issues among other reasons.

Why has the workforce participation rate of women not as good as men. Is it because of the below mentioned reasons?

No safety

The safety of women is one of the biggest concerns in India and specially after the the 2012 Delhi gang rape case. Despite promises of safety, better policing and many other empty promises nothing much has been done on ground. The ground reality has not really changed. Women still don't feel safe to step out of house at night and leave alone at night, even the situtaion during day is not really better.

Harassment at work

Keeping the safety issue aside, those women who work, are more vulnerable to exploitation and harassment at work. And they are unable to fight for themselves in cases of harassment. According to World Economic Forum, "In India, they earn 62% of the men's salary for equal work."

Last year, after Tarun Tejpal's case came to fore, It was made mandatory for all the companies with more than 10 workers to set up grievance committees to investigate all such harassment complaints. But is it really followed by the companies is a big question. According to a study by Jawaharal Nehru University (JNU), less than 20% employers in New Delhi comply with these rules.

India's total female population that is economically active among the lowest in the world making it a very serious issue as it is a big factor is preventing a country from growing.

If more and more women are part of the workforce, it will contribute to the country GDP, which will eventually make a country better. Thus, the Government should also pay heed to this aspect which will eventually help India in the long run.

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