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Impact of Non-Participation of Married Women in the Workforce in India

  • Category
  • Published
    31st Oct, 2023


The impacts of the non-participation of married women in the workforce in India are considerable, given their substantial representation among the working-age population.

  • The labour market entry of women is influenced by a range of individual and societal factors.

Macro Impact of Low Women’s Labor Force Participation

  • Reduced women’s labour force participation affects economic prospects and intra-household decision-making power.
  • Consequences on economic progress at the national level are significant.
  • Gender disparities persist in terms of work roles and remuneration.

Global Trends in Female Labour Force Participation

  • Worldwide female labour force participation remains low, with a 2022 global LFPR of 47.3%.
  • Decline in female LFPR is observed in developing nations, including India, where it dropped from 28% to 24% between 1990 and 2022.

Challenges for Married Women in the Labour Market

  • After marriage, many factors contribute to the decline in women's LFPR, such as limited education, family obligations, and societal disapproval.
  • Marriage intensifies domestic obligations and imposes social and cultural barriers to women’s workforce participation.
  • Several factors, including religion, caste, geography, wealth, and societal norms, affect women's labor market entry.

Professional Challenges for Married Women

  • After marriage, women prefer flexible, close-to-home employment.
  • Gender-based professional costs lead to disparities in career choices, income, age at marriage, and fertility decisions.
  • Socioeconomic status influences women's decision to engage in the labor market.

Marriage’s Impact on Labor Force Participation

  • Married women aged 25-49 exhibit lower employment rates, with a 5% decrease in FLFPR from 2004-05 to 2022-23.
  • Illiterate women are more likely to participate in the labor force after marriage compared to well-educated women.

Sectoral Trends and Promoting Women’s Empowerment

  • Agriculture remains the dominant sector for female employment.
  • Social and cultural factors significantly influence women's labor market entry.
  • Married women have the lowest participation rates.
  • Adequate day-care services are essential to encourage female labor force participation.


  • Improve access to high-quality day-care services for women in the workforce, covering formal and informal sectors.
  • Enhance support for women's economic empowerment in the context of high economic growth.

The economic impact of reduced participation of married women in the workforce is substantial, affecting economic prospects and household dynamics. This phenomenon is not unique to India but reflects a global challenge with persisting gender disparities in the labour market. Solutions must address not only societal and cultural barriers but also practical issues like access to day-care services.

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