Declining women participation in labour force needs to be addressed, says ministers' panel
Report by a working group of ministers (WGoM) notes that women labour force participation rate has been falling for a decade and is now at a historic low of 20.8 percent which means that over three out of four working age women remain out of the w...
By Rahul Tripathi, ET Bureau | Updated:
India’s women labour force participation is declining steadily and need to be addressed immediately, noted a working group of ministers (WGoM) on employment generation and skill development while stating that the “women truly hold up half of the sky and yet their works remain unrecognized and unaccounted for in the Indian economy.”
In a dedicated chapter on “gender inequality,” the eight member panel suggested to “increase women’s access to productive resources, reducing gender biases at institutions and work places,” among others to overcome "weak voice and representation" by women.
The report noted that women labour force participation rate has been falling for a decade and is now at a historic low of 20.8 percent which means that over three out of four working age women remain out of the workforce. Only nine countries, including Syria and Iraq, now have a fewer proportion of working women than India, it stated.
The recommendations are part of the recommendations submitted by the WGoM to Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). It examined 18 sectors and themes and made 63 recommendations that may help generate an estimated 19 crores fresh employment in the next 5 years, officials said.
To address the adverse gender norms, the committee suggested a national campaign on “Women At Work” on “the lines of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, promoting and recognising women’s work in varied fields such as India’s first licensed fisherwomen, fighter pilots, scientists...”
ADVERTISEMENTCiting a survey on women at workplace, the report mentioned “56 percent women believe sexual harassment at workplace has increased over the years and 53 percent women have been subject to sexual comments, gestures, jokes at the workplace and 30 percent women still hesitate to complain to the internal committee about such incidents.”
It recommended, “A national gender action plan with nationwide investment in gender sensitive institutions to address gender issues in police, judiciary, media, schools, colleges and workplaces...”
Further, the panel noted, “gender inclusion fund under the National Education Policy (NEP) can be utilised to inculcate equality and respect young, strengthen school curriculum from a gender lens, teach good touch bad touch to small children..”
The report also proposes to set up an India Frontline Workers Service with 50 percent quota for women. The services can recruit, train and employ women and men to work as extension workers with communities for agriculture, heath, education, finance digital and other services.
ADVERTISEMENTOn women’s access to credit, insurance and pension products, the committee stressed on improving women “workforce preparedness through soft skills, life skills and technical skills to train 1.5 million women by 2024.”