Once again India has been exposed in its low ranking in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021. India is ranked 140 among 156 countries, falling behind neighbours Bangladesh,Nepal, Bhutan, Srilanka, and Myanmar.

Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI) is based on four parameters which are Economic participation & opportunity, Educational attainment, Health & Survival, and Political empowerment. India records one of the worst performance in health and Survival, which includes the sex ratio, and economic participation of women.

Globally, women perform 76.2 per cent of total hours of unpaid care work, more than three times as much as men.According to International Labour Organisation(ILO) points out that unpaid care work is the main reason why women are outside the labour force.

In India, women spend 352 minutes per day on unpaid work,compared to the 52 minutes spent by men. This chore gap is among the highest in the world. Many married women do not go for a job in order to avoid the extra burden. They feel it is difficult to manage the work-life balance.

India’s women are less active professionally than women in our own neighbouring countries. Surveys depicted that participation of women in the labour force is 26.4% in rural areas and 20.4% in urban areas. Millions of educated women in India after marriage choose to remain in home mainly for motherhood and child care responsibilities.

These women usually face a wide career gap once they are ready to enter the workforce after the children have grown up. Though India passed the Maternity Benefit Act 2017, some reports said that up to 12 million Indian women could lose their jobs because of the 2017 act.

The reason is employers did not want to pay full wages for the 26 week paid leave. In order to increase the female workforce participation,our country needs more creche facilities and day care centres to look after infants and small children.

An important provision,Section 11A, introduced by the Maternity Benefit Act 2017, is that any establishment which has 50 or more employees shall have the facility of creche. However, there is no official, public data on compliance with the creche provision after these four years.

According to data from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, India has over 1 million active companies but there is no information on how many companies have more than 50 employees.

It is a fact that Covid-19 pandemic pushed more women out of the workforce.Remote working is a challenge for married women as they have to perform a disproportionate number of domestic roles.

Mothers experience more challenges while working from home depending upon the age of children. Since children have online classes, working around the school schedule during day time creates a lot of stress.

Due to our patriarchal system household work, child care, taking care of elder people are all delegated to women. This makes them feel exhausted and decided to drop out from the job. So It is high time that working women need a change at home with an equal distribution of household chores and child care.

Another reason for low female work force participation is economic stability of the family or partner. It is advisable that those women who don’t want to go for a job can contribute to society in some other ways. They can associate with NGOs or start their own small business.

Women should find their passion or skills and use it appropriately. Some have passion in cooking, fine arts, dance, music or in any other field and can contribute to society. Nowadays technology is advanced.

Women can use social media platforms to reach their targeted audience without paying for expensive advertising campaigns. These activities help women to mark their signature and earn an extra income as well. They feel more confidence and get respect from the society

Usually Women get less salaried jobs compared to men. That is another reason why they are staying away from the workforce. In India the gender pay gap is quite wide. It is necessary to close the gender gaps in the labour force.

This not only helps the women but also for the nation’s prosperity and wealth. We need more effective social and governmental initiatives to encourage the participation of women in the workforce. Women’s contributions in the workplace are significant because they can transform the economy of the nation.

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Director at Onatt Tech Pvt. Ltd. Corporate Trainer, Research Analyst and Relationship Coach