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4th March 2024 (14 Topics)

A women’s urban employment guarantee act


The discussion on women's empowerment and reducing gender gaps, particularly in employment, has gained momentum as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. This article highlights the need for targeted initiatives to increase urban women's participation in the workforce.

Current Challenges in Urban Women's Employment

  • Disparities in Employment Rates: Urban women face barriers such as social norms, safety concerns, and limited transportation options, resulting in a low employment rate of 22.9% according to the Periodic Labour Force Survey.
  • Unmet Demand for Employment: Despite higher education levels and willingness to work, urban women experience high unemployment rates compared to rural areas, indicating significant untapped potential and a need for tailored employment initiatives.
  • Need for Targeted Urban Employment Programs: Some states have initiated urban employment programs, but there is a need for a national-level initiative, such as the proposed Women's Urban Employment Guarantee Act (WUEGA), to address urban women's employment challenges comprehensively.

Proposal for Women's Urban Employment Guarantee Act (WUEGA)

  • Key Features of WUEGA: The proposed act aims to ensure gender parity in employment opportunities by mandating women's representation in program management and providing essential facilities like childcare at worksites.
  • Inclusive Approach: WUEGA would offer various work opportunities within a 5-km radius, free public transportation for women, and incentives like automatic inclusion in welfare boards to empower and support women in the workforce.
  • Skill Development Initiatives: To address skill gaps and facilitate the transition from school to work, the act proposes apprenticeships, information facilitation centers, and capacity-building initiatives tailored to women's needs.

Implementation and Potential Impact

  • Women-Led Initiatives: Examples like women-led waste management initiatives in Karnataka demonstrate the feasibility and success of women-centric programs, highlighting the potential for similar initiatives under WUEGA.
  • Cost and Benefits Analysis: Despite fiscal concerns, implementing WUEGA is feasible, with estimated costs of around 2% of GDP, offering substantial benefits in terms of women's empowerment, economic growth, and social inclusion.
  • Phased Rollout and Future Prospects: The phased rollout of WUEGA, coupled with periodic assessments and adjustments, can pave the way for broader urban employment programs, ensuring income assurance and empowerment for women.
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