The Absent Female Workforce in India

The Absent Female Workforce in IndiaSince the past decade the percentage of female labour participation in India’s workforce has been abysmalwhich has placed us on the bottom of global rankings. Even though studies show that a number of youngwomen are entering as well as looking to enter workforce they end up working in the informal economy withlow wages and no job security. More shockingly highly educated urban woman keen on working are not able todo so because of the limited job opportunities in the urban areas.1 A large chunk of female population is still nota part of the labour market. India’s urban female work-force participation rate (WPR), which includes womenwho are employed as well as those who are looking for work, is one of the world’s lowest at 15%. This placesus at the eleventh rank from the bottom among 131 countries.2 As is clearly depicted from figure 1, India is oneof the regions with the lowest amount of female labour force participation rate.Countries like China and Japan have already realised the worth of incorporating educated women into theirlabour force. Japan has aggressively pursued involvement of the women in workforce, who now form 43% ofthe labour force, with the government’s pro-women policies.3 Similarly China has realised the value of highlyeducated women’s participation in the labour force. As China capitalises on this human capital, 53% of thehighly educated Chinese women have been able to find a ‘good job’ as compared to only 17% of the highlyeducated Indian women.4 Further it is most shocking to note that the participation of women during primeworking age is 32% as compared to 75% in China and 65 % in Brazil.5