Female Labour Participation Rate (FLPR) in India has been in a steady state of decline for over a decade now and Covid19 only exacerbated the situation. Data from January - April 2022 shows that 91% of Urban Indian women are not employed. Women account for nearly 50% of the college graduates every year. And despite that, only 9% are gainfully employed.
Where are the 91% women?
What are they doing today?
Did they leave on their own volition or did we fail them as a society?
Have we done everything we could do to help them unleash their fullest potential?
Urban Indian women are rapidly withdrawing from the workforce unable to handle the ‘double burden’ that's placed upon them. While women in India drop out of the workforce through various life stages of
Marriage, Motherhood and Migration, the truth is that unsupportive and non-inclusive work environments make it impossible for women to continue working outside homes.
Are organizations doing everything they can to ensure gender equity in workplaces? While there are some efforts being made to bring back women into the workforce, there simply isn’t enough being done to ensure women DO NOT drop off the workforce to begin with. This leaky bucket problem needs to be fixed urgently if we want to untap the potential of half of India’s population.
So, why should we care about this?
At a micro level, women's supply of labour increases household incomes, which helps families escape poverty and increase their consumption of goods and services.
At a macro level, there is something for both the population and the Indian economy. Studies have documented that for every 10% increase in women working, a 5% increase in wages is observed (for both men and women!) More significantly, Bloomberg Economics’s recent analysis states that closing the employment gap between men and women — a whopping 58 percentage points — could expand India’s GDP by close to a third by 2050. That’s nearly $6 trillion in constant US dollar terms! To grow in line with our ambitions, India needs to do more to have more women participate in paid employment.