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4th March 2023 (8 Topics)

Index on life cycle of working women


The World Bank has released India’s score for the index on the life cycle of a working woman obtained down to 74.4 out of a possible 100.

A score of 100 on the Index means that women are in equal standing with men on all the eight indicators being measured.

Highlights of the index:

  • Title of the report: The index was developed based on a report named ‘Women, Business and the Law 2023’.
  • India scored higher than the 63.7 average for the South Asian region, though lower than Nepal which had the region’s highest score of 80.6.
  • Out of the 190 economies covered in the Index, only 14 scored a perfect 100: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Luxemburg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
  • For India, the Index used data on the laws and regulations applicable in Mumbai.

India’s Women workforce:

  • Unemployment trends for women in India:
    • Only a quarter of the females in the country are either working or seeking jobs. Female LFPR is 23.3%.
    • Fall in LFPR was more for females than males.
    • The decline in LFPR for females was steeper in rural areas than in urban.
    • The considerable wage gap between men and women; is highest in Asia.
  • OECD Economic Survey of India: The OECD survey found that India has the largest difference between employment rates of women and men among OECD nations at 52 percentage points.
    • Unemployment among young, educated women in urban areas is quite higher.
    • The employment gap between women and men is highest in the 15 to 29 years bracket.
    • Underemployment and poor job quality remain important issues.
  • Status in other countries: In China, 43.5% of women are in the workforce, in Sri Lanka 34.5%, Bangladesh 29.5% and in India 24.3%, according to World Bank data.
  • Women in politics: India ranks 20th from the bottom in terms of representation of women in Parliament. Only 9% of MPs or MLAs are women. The 17th Lok Sabha has 14% women representation.


India lags behind when it comes to laws affecting women’s pay, laws affecting women’s work after having children, constraints on women starting and running a business, gender differences in property and inheritance, and laws affecting the size of a woman’s pension.

Reasons for Low Female Labour Force Participation (FLFP):

  • Structural, social and cultural factors contribute to low FLFP.
  • There is growing feminisation of agriculture tying women in this field due to socio-cultural restrictions, lack of alternate skills, and movement of men to cities away from agriculture.
  • Unpaid care and domestic work hours of Women in India are second highest in the world.
  • Women in India do almost 10 times as much unpaid work as men.
  • Social barriers to women’s mobility



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