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Why Indian dream of third largest economy must include women in it

  • Published
    22nd Sep, 2023

Context:

India's aim of becoming the third-largest economy by 2028 must include an enhanced participation of women in the formal sector, and manufacturing can help in it.

Gender Disparities in Financial Security

  • Gender Gap in National Pension Schemes: NPS data shows that only 22% women subscribers of APY slightly better at 46:54. Gender disparities rooted in informal work and biological roles.
  • Challenges in Maternity Benefits: The Maternity Benefit Act of 1961 offers paid leave but applies mainly to establishments with over ten employees, leaving the vast informal sector uncovered.
  • Sexual Harassment Protection: The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act of 2013 requires local committees for informal sector cases but faces implementation challenges.

Need for Gender-Inclusive Growth

  • Low Female Labour Force Participation: India's female labour force participation rate is one of the world's lowest, particularly among G20 nations, at 23%.
  • Importance of Formal Employment: Gender-inclusive growth is vital for empowering women in decision-making and socio-political independence.
  • Creating Formal employment: India must prioritize gender inclusivity in formal employment, including the manufacturing sector, to harness its economic potential.

Fostering Inclusive Workforce Participation

  • Opportunities in the Manufacturing Sector: Female participation in the sector has been stagnant, hovering around 20%, lagging behind East Asian and Pacific countries.
  • Path to Economic Empowerment: Fostering gender-inclusive growth will not only empower women but also contribute significantly to the nation's economic progress.
  • Way forward: India's aspirations in the global economic landscape depend on equal opportunities and a diverse, inclusive workforce.
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