Reducing Female Labour Force Participation – UPSC GS1

  • India’s Female Labour Force Participation Rate (FLPR) is declining.
  • It is below the global average of 45%.
  • FLPR has fallen from 31.2% in 2011-12 to 24.5% in 2018-19.
  • Number of women in jobs declined by 10 million.
  • India’s rank 140 in the 2021 global gender gap index, worsened as compared to the 98th rank in 2006.
What is the linkage between education and Female Labour Participation Rate?
After the enactment of the Right to Education, India attained gender parity in primary education. There is an increase in the number of women pursuing higher education. But the FLPR is declining and the unemployment rate of women is increasing.
What are the factors behind the decline in the Female Labour Participation Rate?
  • Domestic responsibilities and burden of unpaid care.
  • Lack of safety and mobility.
  • Interplay of social norms and identities.
  • Occupational segregation and limited opportunities to enter non-traditional sectors with inadequate supportive infrastructure such as piped water, cooking fuel
  • In addition to these, crimes against women and girls is the most important barrier to women’s participation.
What is the impact of crime against women in women’s participation?
  • According to National Crime Records Bureau data, crimes deter women from stepping out to work.
  • This is evident as at the national level FLFPR declined by 8% and crime against women more than tripled to 57.9%.
  • Data from Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Chhattisgarh and Sikkim show that Low crime against women has led to high FLFPR.
  • States like Bihar, Delhi, Assam and Tripura which have a high crime against women showed low FLFPR.
What should be the way forward?
  • India needs a comprehensive mechanism that involves states, institutions, communities and households to address crime against women.
  • For that, adopting a ‘SAFETY’ framework—focused on Services, Attitudes, Focus on community, Empowerment of women, Transport and other infrastructure, and Youth interventions—can be the first step.
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