What is keeping women from working in India?

Women’s labour force participation has never looked promising, but the decline in numbers in the last two decades have been alarming. One of the major reasons for this drop is the rise in the number of women in formal education, which in turn delays their entry into the job market.

But the real travesty is that the few who do enter the labour force are faced with gendered distribution of jobs, which is mostly concentrated in low productivity industries.


3. Rising incomes and higher education

The logical link that education should naturally lead to jobs is broken in India. It then is a travesty that just as women dropped out of the workplace, girls began making massive advances in education. 

According to a report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), 67% of female graduates in rural India do not work, and in towns and cities, 68.3% of women who graduate don’t have paid jobs.

This could be tied back to sociocultural reasons. One of the reasons may be because highly educated women are more likely to marry more educated men with high incomes, which inhibits their labour force participation.

4. Gender-based segregation in the job market 

Norms and biases of a society often limit women’s opportunities to so-called ‘traditional’ jobs and this is closely associated to typical ideas of what women can and cannot do. 

In many cases, women themselves seem inclined to choose trades that are traditionally ‘women oriented’ and tend to be concentrated in certain areas like the beauty and care-giving sectors. This means that they could largely be absent from high growth sectors like telecom, IT and banking.

With inputs from a report on ‘Aspirations of Women in ITIs’ conducted by Quest Alliance.

Author: thelearnerbyquest

Quest Alliance's space for reflection on the education sector

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