Women In Worforce

Context :-  GS Paper I (UPSC)

What to Study ?

  • For Prelims :- Statistics and Schemes relate to women.
  • For Mains :- Women and their Issues related to employment.


The Global Gender Gap Report estimates that raising women’s participation in the labour force can increase India’s GDP significantly. However, dropout rates among women is also high, particularly around marriage, maternity and motherhood. The NITI Aayog Report estimates that raising women’s participation in the labour force can increase India’s GDP by 27%.

The Azad Foundation, NGO tabled on Women’s Day, women workforce in the country fell to 18 % in 2019 from 37 % in 2006. The World Economic Forum’s – – Global Gender Gap Report this year ranks India at 149th position out of 153 countries on economic participation and opportunity.


    • Lesser number of women in the workforce is that more number of women are opting for higher education.
    • This can be accounted by an estimate that around 52% of the total students enrolled in under graduation are women and 42% enrollment in PhDs are women.
    • Quality transport, Safety and Child care facilities promote women employment.
    • Indian cities are lacking and therefore the rate of women workforce participation is dismal.
    • The level of crime in Tier1 and Tier 2 cities is very high .
    • In the rural areas too, women workforce is shrinking.
    • Agriculture, has become less profitable due to lack of manufacturing sector in India. Women who have left agriculture are not participating in the GDP of the country.


    • Stay at home.
    • Take care of family members.
    • Home Maker tag legitimises their legacy.
    • Crime has increased both Indoors as well as Outdoors.
    • Managing office and family becomes more stressful for women.
    • Employers avoid giving employment to young women. 
    • The notion that particular set of jobs belong to men is crippling.


1. The Maternity leave (A.) Act 2017:

  • The Maternity (Amendment) Act 2017 has extended the leaves in the Maternity leave Benefit Act 1961 from earlier 12 weeks’ leave to 26 weeks.

2. National Creche Scheme:

  • The National Creche Scheme is a centrally Sponsored Scheme to provide daycare facilities to children (age group of 6 months to 6 years) of working mothers.
  • It aims at providing a safe place for mothers to leave their children while they are at work.

3. Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013:

  • This statute superseded the Vishaka Guidelines for Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) introduced by the Supreme Court (SC) of India.
  • This contribute to realization of their right to gender equality, life and liberty and equality in working conditions everywhere.

4. Factories Act, 1948:

  • The Factories Act, 1948 has formulating national policies in India with respect to occupational safety and health in factories and docks in India.
  • It ensures safe commuting facility for women.


i. For Society

  • Accepting different views.
  • Gender sensitivity.
  • Boosting the emotional quotient of the company and developing mutual understanding among co-workers.

ii. For an Individual and Family:

  • Gaining Financial Independence, Tolerance, Discipline, Time management, multi-tasking.
  • Raising the standards of living and money circulation.
  • Contribution to the family and society.

2. Economic significance:

  • If around 50% of the potential workforce (women) in the country is not working, it will lead to great asymmetry, Gender gap and negative implication on the GDP of the country.

Way Forward:

  • Building trust and evolve as a society.
  • Imparting Gender sensitivity
  • Be more progressive
  • Improving pay parity and giving leadership roles to women.
  • Gender neutral environment at the workplace.
  • Checking effective ground level implementation of laws made for women.
  • Increasing manufacturing sector and small scale cottage industries to enable participation of rural women.
  • Options like working from home and flexible working hours.
  • Encouraging women to take entrepreneurship.
  • Investing in women education.


The declining women’s labour force participation, gender pay gap, high rates of informal work with lack of social security are seen as impediments to the goal of gender equality and empowerment of women. The need of the hour is to explore empowering options for women and provide them with a sense of security at the workplace to improve women’s participation in work, resulting in their economic empowerment and inclusive growth.

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