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8th March 2024 (13 Topics)

The determinant in ‘more women in the job market’

Context:

There is a growing discourse on the need to increase women's participation in the economy to foster economic growth in India. However, this is hindered by various factors, primarily rooted in patriarchy, which perpetuates gender disparities in the labor market.

1. Root Cause: Patriarchy's Impact on Women's Participation:

  • Women's low participation in the Indian labor market stems from the patriarchal social system, which prioritizes male dominance in family, community, and society.
  • Under patriarchy, women are traditionally assigned the role of homemakers, responsible for unpaid household chores and caregiving duties, limiting their entry into the formal labor force.
  • The undervaluation of women's unpaid work further reinforces gender disparities, as it lacks recognition, upward mobility, retirement benefits, and is often perceived as inferior and repetitive.

2. Challenges and Exploitation in Women's Labor Market Participation:

  • While increasing education levels among women may boost their labor market participation, it often leads to exploitation, particularly among domestic workers who support professional women.
  • Women's participation can be enhanced by reducing the burden of unpaid domestic work through infrastructure support, technological advancements, and redistributing household responsibilities.
  • Addressing gender inequality in the labor market requires not only sharing domestic duties between men and women but also eliminating women's subordination within households.

3. Need for Policy Intervention and Protection of Domestic Workers:

  • Policymakers must prioritize measures to alleviate women's domestic burdens and ensure equal opportunities for women in the labor market.
  • Ratification and enforcement of international labor standards, such as the International Labour Organization Convention on domestic workers' rights, can safeguard the rights and dignity of domestic workers.
  • Neglecting the rights and protections of domestic workers, particularly in the face of increasing women's labor force participation, risks perpetuating exploitation and undermining the potential economic gains.
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