Female Labour Force Participation Rate

Female Labour Force Participation Rate

News: Recently, Ministry of Women and Child Development announced that the Female Labour Force Participation Rate (FLFPR) for 2022-23 had improved significantly over the previous year by 4.2 percentage points to 37%. The trend, over the last five years (24.5%, 30.0%, 32.5%, 32.8%, 37%) has been nothing short of a miracle.

Background:
• While the recent figures are encouraging a lot needs to be done in this area to ensure we reap the benefits of Demographic Dividend.
• As per a World Bank report, Indian women’s participation in the formal economy is among the lowest in the world.

Why higher women representation in workforce matters?
• According to the IMF, gender parity in the workforce can improve India’s GDP by 27%.
• Allowing more number of women to enter the formal workforce is likely to improve indicators like Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR).
• Better female labour force participation will address issues such as poverty (SDG 1), it will promote Gender Equality (SDG 5), give better job opportunities and promote economic growth (SDG 8) and reduce inequalities (SDG 10)

What are the reasons for low Female Labour Force Participation rate in India?
• Majority of working women in India are part of Informal economy which lacks social security, job security thus it prevents more women from being part of labour force.
• Gender wage disparity and rural-urban disparites – According to the Economic Survey 2018, India has one of the largest gender gap in median earnings of full-time employees. Such discrimination affects FLFPR.
• Exclusion from Agricultural Schemes: Government agricultural schemes have shifted towards cash-based initiatives, but gender-wise beneficiary data reveals that a low percentage of women farmers benefit from these schemes. Additionally, majority of agricultural lands are owned by men.
• Cultural Norms: Cultural norms and societal expectations often discourage women from participating in the workforce.
• Unpaid Family Helpers: More than half of rural women work as unpaid family helpers in household businesses, while married women are often engaged in unpaid family roles or domestic chores.
• While women enrollment in higher education has been on a rise, it hasn’t been followed by subsequent increase in job opportunities for them which has also contributed to low FLFPR.

Government of India initiatives to improve Female Labour Force participation rate

Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017This act provides for enhancement in paid maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks and provisions for mandatory crèche facility in the establishments having 50 or more employees
Factories Act, 1948An advisory has been issued to the States under this act for permitting women workers in the night shifts with adequate safety measures
Mission ShaktiA comprehensive Umbrella Scheme for safety, security, and empowerment of women, including components such as National, State and District level Hubs for Empowerment of Women, Women Help Lines, One Stop Centres, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Sakhi Niwas (Working Women’s Hostels), Palna (crèches for children of working women) etc
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013It seeks to protect women from sexual harassment at their place of work
National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013It entitles pregnant and lactating mothers to a cash transfer of at least INR 6,000.
Stand up IndiaOffers Bank loans specially for SC/ST/Women entreprenuers to set up new enterprises.
Training InstitutesThe Government is providing training to women through a network of Women Industrial Training institutes, National Vocational Training Institutes, and Regional Vocational Training Institutes
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