In 2023, just one of every five workers in India will be a woman
The Financial Express
Of the seven crore persons of working age (15-59 years)—5.9 crore or 84.3% of who are projected to be in the age group of 15-30 years—that the National Skills Development Corporation estimates will join India’s workforce by 2023, only one in five is expected to be female. While this 20.1% female labour force participation rate between 2019 and 2023 is higher than the 16.4% projected by the Periodic Labour Force Survey for 2017-18 for the 15-29 year age group, it highlights how severe the gender skew in India’s labour market is. India lags far behind countries like China (61%), Vietnam (73%), Singapore (60%) , and even Bangladesh (36%), Libya (26%), and Pakistan (24%).
For reasons varying from lack of safety at the work place to families exerting control to stature—the latter is especially true of upper class, upper caste households—women, both before and after marriage, are encouraged or forced to restrict themselves to domestic work. However, the skill level of women of working age is also a significant contributing factor. For instance, it is difficult for women from the lower economic strata to find gainful formal employment since they often are illiterate/uneducated. Even basic vocational training of the kind that the Skill India Mission endeavours to impart, such as in tailoring, driving, or essential computer skills, would go a long way in empowering these women. To ensure the labour force participation of such women, reskilling and upskilling them is crucial, apart from ensuring the availability of childcare centres at the workplace, and zero tolerance to workplace sexism and harassment.