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Women Getting More Preferences at Work Place? Gender equality is an important development objective and an ongoing conversation and here's what we expect

By Dr. Nandita Shah

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India's rapid economic growth has been accompanied by higher educational attainment among women. These advances often lead to an increase in women entering the labour force, however with a surprising decline on this front in India.

Less than 30 per cent of working-age women are currently a part of the workforce compared to nearly 80 per cent of men in India. The conspicuous absence of women in India's labour force is part of a wider problem the country is currently facing when it comes to job growth which has led to a drastic decline in the Gender Inequality Index.

As the country grapples with boosting job availability to the people, we must ensure to not leave women behind in the process. All efforts must be intersectional and should focus on those on the fringes. Advocating for a gender just workplace requires compassion and continual introspection. In a country that is burgeoning with a young population, we need to constantly look at ways to increase the participation of women and create a balanced workforce.

Women are not only at the receiving end of cultural expectations and violence. Factors such as family support, safety, and work atmosphere are just a few of many reasons that are keeping women out of the workforce. Gender equality thus is an important development objective and an ongoing conversation in itself.

A Balanced Workforce

Therefore, increasing the number of women and a balanced workforce is quintessential for any country's economic growth, leading to better productivity and improving prospects of growth for future generations. Addressing cultural issues that result in women leaving jobs, changing social norms about gender equality is paramount in alleviating gender stereotypes. Policy reforms such as subsidised childcare may also free up time for women to engage in the labour force. At a more structural level, we must also focus on economic reforms to create more jobs, keeping in mind the gender employment gap and specifically think about jobs for women and ways to reduce this gap to help boost the country's economy.

Living in a world that is striving towards creating a gender-just society, we shall work towards taking action to solve the issues at hand especially when it involves dismantling beliefs, institutions, and norms that have been in place for decades.

Dr. Nandita Shah

Co- Director at Akshara Centre

Nandita Shah is a feminist scholar and activist with over 25 years of experience. She is an activist, researcher, gender trainer and writer and Co-director of Akshara centre. With a passion of building another a gender just world, She leads the team towards changing hearts and mind of youth on one hand and systems change (like within police, transport) on the other.

She has been on many expert committees including with the Planning Commission for Women’s Rights, for drafting women’s policy in Maharashtra. ​ She has represented Akshara on many International platforms like UnWomen -Commission of Status of Women, AWID, Feminist Dialogues, world social forum, Post Beijing platforms, Habitat III etc. She completed her PhD from University of Amsterdam.

 She has co-authored two books- Issues at Stake- contemporary issues in women’s movement and Contingent workers.

She is on the Civil Society Advisory Group of UNWomen


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