Women’s employment: India

From Indpaedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Hindi English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish

This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.


Women's employment

2000-16: Female Labour Force Participation rate, India and the world

Countries with lowest female labour force participation rate, India and the world; The Times of India, May 20, 2017

See graphic

Countries with lowest female labour force participation rate, India and the world

2004-18: female labour force participation rate, India

Sep 4, 2019: The Times of India

2004-18: female labour force participation rate, India
From: Sep 4, 2019: The Times of India

It’s the big whodunnit of our times — what is causing Indian women to withdraw from paid work? Over the last decade, an already low female labour force participation rate continued to fall steadily. India is an embarrassing standout for its income level, where it is barely ahead of Pakistan and some Arab nations.

The latest periodic labour force survey of 2017-18 shows that only about 23% of working-age women are employed, down from 31% in 2011-12 and 43% in 2004-05.

Studies show that women are dropping out at all levels of education, age and income, but it is working-age rural women who have retreated dramatically — from 49% in 2004-05 to 36% in 2011-12 and now 25% in 2017-18. “Of course, I liked my job, and I want to work outside,” says 22-year-old Manaswini Dutta, from a handloomweaving family in Odisha’s Maniabandha village. She got a customer service job in Bhubaneswar, earning Rs 8,500 a month, until an illness forced her to return home. She laughs and crinkles her nose at the idea of a weaving job, which her parents and grandparents do.

Apart from the labour of running the home, her mother and grandmother also handle the yarn and dyeing, before the men take over at the loom.

Some of the low levels of women’s work participation can be explained by systematic underestimating. A majority of women work in a grey zone: not in paid labour outside the home, but yet contributing to the family livelihood. She might be doing piece-rate work at home, or putting in irregular stints at a construction site — but neither she nor her family would identify this as proper work to surveyors.

Economists Ashwini Deshpande and Naila Kabeer, who conducted a household survey in seven West Bengal districts in 2017, found that the women’s labour participation rate for the state, pegged at 16% by NSSO, climbed to 52% in those seven districts with a more nuanced questionnaire.

But given that the same blunt survey has been used for all these years, what explains the clear slide of the last decade and half ? The first and biggest reason: education. School enrolment increased across caste and gender in the last 10-15 years, drawing in girls who might have been child labourers, and keeping them in school, explains economist Santosh Mehrotra. Schemes like bicycles for teenaged girls and scholarships also encouraged schooling, leading to “a revolution of rising aspirations”, he says.

When Naandi Foundation surveyed over 70,000 teenaged girls across India last year, it found that three out of four did not want to get married till 21, and seven out of 10 want a graduate degree. They do not want to work in fields or do the manual work their mothers did, but their aspirations have run smack into the forbidding walls of the job market.

“I studied till Class 10, did well without any tuition, but needed Rs 4,000 to go to college in Baramba, apart from all the other expenses,” says 19-yearold Rinku Sahu of Maniabandha. Her family focused its resources on her brother instead, and is trying to arrange a suitable match for her.

Mehrotra outlines many more reasons, like greater mechanisation in agriculture, which displaces some of the winnowing and threshing work that women do. “Between 2004-5 and 2011-12, real wages rose because of nonagricultural jobs growing and overall peak investment, and many women stayed back in the household because they could,” he says.

Now, he says, “open unemployment is at a 45-year high of 6.1%, and even their brothers are not finding jobs. A lot of women are simply disheartened and not even looking for jobs. Construction work has fallen, and manufacturing jobs — especially labour-intensive ones like textiles, where women work — have fallen between 2012 and 2018, he says.

“We must not hold women responsible for dropping out of the labour market — where are the opportunities for them?” says Deshpande. Women’s jobs are seen as more dispensable, and are lower-paid. In urban areas, domestic work is the one area that has grown, and education and retail also employ many women. Among urban working women, the share of regular, salaried jobs has increased from 35.6% in 2004 to 52.1% in 2017. But in the 15-29 age group, nearly 27% of urban women are unemployed and seeking work.

“Less educated rural women who have lost farm jobs have few options apart from MGNREGA and self employment as small vendors, making beedis, or doing zarizardosi work. The best thing for them is to boost self-help groups, for which funding has been increasing,” says Mehrotra. Deshpande said in China, the non-farm rural economy has grown rapidly, and India needs a similar focus. “The only dignified jobs for rural women are as Asha or Anganwadi workers,” she says. While there is no all-encompassing solution to boost women’s work participation, Mehrotra and many experts feel that scaling up paid care-work would be a hugely worthwhile intervention. Asha, Anganwadi and midday meal workers make up nearly a crore of women, who bear heavy responsibilities for the community’s nutrition and health, early childhood and maternal care but are not recognised as fixed workers. “The government of India spends barely 1.2% of the GDP on health, roughly 3% on education. These are labourintensive sectors that employ women. Simply investing in human capital will create jobs, especially for women,” says Mehrotra.

Expanding this network of community frontline workers, and strengthening health and education and social services would not only directly employ women, it would shift the burden from the bulk of women who work at home without pay, and undergird the paid work of others. It is an investment in future citizens, and what’s more, these are jobs that are unlikely to be rendered obsolete by technological change.

“Childcare is not the primary hurdle for women in India as it is in the West, it’s also domestic chores and eldercare,” says Deshpande, but increasing public spending on this traditionally unpaid “women’s work” is clearly a way forward. But women need a fair shot at all kinds of employment. Prioritising sectors where women are employed and making room in others is essential. Mehrotra suggests creating more accommodation for working women in semi-urban areas, improving transportation, starting skilling centres near manufacturing clusters, encouraging entrepreneurship, and so on. If Indian women had the same work participation rates as men, Oxfam estimates the GDP would rise by 43%. Their low presence in the workforce is proof of persisting inequality, and the loss is collective. 


Girls are more educated than before, and have higher job expectations. Non-literate women and those with college degrees tend to work more than those in the middle

Social norms mean that as wages climb above subsistence-level, married women are expected to focus on the home

Agriculture is increasingly mechanised, especially the work that women do

There are now fewer opportunities in construction, and manufacturing is stagnant

Men crowd women out of many service jobs, especially in a high-pressure labour market

Transportation and stay options block their travelling out for skilling and work

2005-12: Employment level, women

The Indian Express , July 26, 2016

Female force participation, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (Figure-1); Types of jobs, 2012: Per cent of adult female (Figure-2); Graphic courtesy: The Indian Express , July 26, 2016

Since 2005, fewer jobs for women in India

In rural areas, female labour force participation among women aged 15 years and above has fallen from 49% in 2005 to 36% in 2012. More than half of the decline is due to the scarcity of suitable jobs at the local level.

Female labour force participation in India is among the lowest in the world. What’s worse, the share of working women in India is declining. This is a cause for concern since higher labour earnings are the primary driver of poverty reduction. It is often argued that declining female participation is due to rising incomes that allow more women to stay at home. The evidence, however, shows that after farming jobs collapsed post 2005, alternative jobs considered suitable for women failed to replace them.

Rising labour earnings have been the main force behind India’s remarkable decline in poverty. The gains arise partly from the demographic transition, which increases the share of working members in the average family. But trends in female labour force participation veer in the opposite direction. Today, India has one of the lowest female participation rates in the world, ranking 120th among the 131 countries for which data are available. Even among countries with similar income levels, India is at the bottom, together with Yemen, Pakistan and Egypt (Figure 1). Worse still, the rate has been declining since 2005. This is a matter of concern as women’s paid employment is known to increase their ability to influence decision-making within the household, and empower them more broadly in society as a whole.

This declining trend has been particularly pronounced in rural areas, where female labour force participation among women aged 15 years and above fell from 49% in 2005 to 36% in 2012. This is the most recent period for which data are available. The numbers are based on the National Sample Survey’s (NSS) definition of ‘usual status’ of work, but the trend remains similar with other definitions too. In a recent paper, we argue that the explanation for this disturbing trend is the lack of suitable job opportunities for women. In a traditional society like India, where women bear the bulk of the responsibility for domestic chores and child care, their work outside the home is acceptable if it takes place in an environment that is perceived as safe, and allows the flexibility of multi-tasking. Indeed, three-quarters of women who were willing to work, if work was made available, favoured part-time salaried jobs. From this perspective, female labour force participation can be expected to depend on the availability of ‘suitable jobs’ such as farming, which are both flexible and close to home. However, the number of farming jobs has been shrinking, without a commensurate increase in other employment opportunities. Our research suggests that more than half of the decline in female labour force participation is due to the scarcity of suitable jobs at the local level.

A large body of academic work in India has focused on a different explanation, the so-called “income effect”. It is argued that higher household incomes have gradually allowed more rural women to stay at home, and that this is a preferred household choice in a predominantly patriarchal society. Other frequently-mentioned explanations are that the share of working women is declining because girls are staying longer in school. It is also said that with shrinking family sizes, and without the back-up of institutional child support, women have no option but to stay out of the work force. We are sceptical. Staying longer in school and being less able to rely on family support for child-rearing could justify a decline in participation rates among younger women, but not the equally important drop among middle-aged cohorts. There are also reasons to downplay the income effect. Between 2005 and 2012 India experienced roughly a doubling of wages in real terms. But across districts, a doubling of real wages is associated with a 3 percentage point decline in female participation rates, not with the much larger 13 percentage point fall that actually occurred. Our research shows that these factors explain less than a quarter of the recent decline in India’s female labour force participation.

Evidence also points to a less ‘voluntary’ withdrawal of women from the labour force than the income effect explanation implies. The NSS, which is the main source of labour market data, tends to underestimate women’s work. What most working women do in India does not match the image of a regular, salaried, 9-to-5 job. Many women have marginal jobs or are engaged in multiple activities, including home production, which is often hard to measure well. Female unemployment may be underestimated as well. If one were to relax the stringent criteria used by the NSS to define labour force participation, and include the women who participated under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), or were registered with a placement agency, then the female labour force participation rate would be between 3 and 5 percentage points higher. This measurement problem is further evidenced by the population census data that report much higher rates of female unemployment than the NSS. Beyond the income effect and measurement issues, the main driver of the decline in female labour force participation rates is the transformation of job opportunities at the local level. After 2005, farming jobs collapsed, especially in small villages, and alternative job opportunities considered suitable for women failed to replace them. Regular, non-farm employment only expanded in large cities (Figure 2). As a result, there is a ‘valley’ of suitable jobs along the rural-urban gradation. Fortunately, the decline in female labour force participation is not irreversible. The trend can be turned around through a more vibrant creation of local salaried jobs — including part-time jobs — in the intermediate range of the rural-urban gradation where an increasingly large share of the Indian population now resides.

2004-2012:Women as rural labour

The Times of India Jan 11 2016

Gender gap in rural labour force in %: 2004-2012

B Sivakumar

Chennai Women in rural areas are increasingly withdrawing from the country's labour force. This trend is particularly evident in states like Karnataka, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh where women have opted out of the labour force over the years. It is also quite strong in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, where the difference in gender gap between 2004 and 2011 is 8%. In Karnataka, it is 16, while in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh it is 15. The higher the gender gap the lower the female participation in labour force.

According to a study conducted by Niti Aayog, the main reasons are lack of job opportunities for women in rural areas and the poor performance in the agriculture sector. Due to the fall in number of women in the labour force, the gender gap has increased to 25 percentage points in India between 2005 and 2011.

“Women who lost jobs in agriculture did not find place in other sectors of the economy . One of the reasons is the poor education of rural women that acts as a barrier to a smooth inter-sectoral labour mobility . Nearly 69% of rural women are either illiterate or have been educated only up to the primary level,“ said the study done by Sunita Sanghi, A Srija and Shirke Shrinivas Vijay of NitiAayog.

“While there is a rise in real wages of women labour force after introduction of MGNREGS, younger women in the school and college going ages are migrating to towns for education. It is only the older women, who have lost employment opportunities,“ said said Madras Institute of Development Studies professor D Jayaraj.


Rural women lost 9.1m jobs in 2 yrs, urban gained 3.5m

Not Getting Long-Term Work: Survey


The Times of India

The employment of women: 2009-12

Women’s employment has taken an alarming dip in rural areas in the past two years, a government survey has revealed. In jobs that are done for ‘the major part of the year’, a staggering 9.1 million jobs were lost by rural women. In urban areas, the situation was quite the reverse, with over 3.5 million women added to the workforce.

This emerges from comparing employment data of two consecutive surveys conducted by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) in 2009-10 and 2011-12. Key results of the later survey were released last month. Both rounds had a large sample size of nearly 4.5 lakh people.

“The survey shows that in the continuing employment crunch in rural areas, the most vulnerable sections — like the women — are getting eliminated,” says Amitabh Kundu, professor of economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

If subsidiary work, that is short-term, supplementary work is also counted, women’s employment numbers improve, but they still show a huge decline of 2.7 million in two years. This is a reflection of the fact that women are no longer getting longer-term, or principal, and better paying jobs, and so are forced to take up short-term transient work.

Declining women’s employment in rural areas is a long-term trend in India despite high economic “growth”, says Neetha N of the Centre for Women’s Development Studies.

“Three decades ago, in 1983, about 34% of women in rural areas were working. This has steadily declined and now stands at just short of 25%. But the decline in the past two years is shocking – it is the most drastic decline we have ever seen,” she says.

Low investment in agriculture

‘Poor investment in agriculture behind rural job dip’

Many argue that decline in women’s work is taking place because more women are now either studying or just staying home because the men of the family are earning enough. However,this is not supported by the data, according to Neetha. “Urban areas have more girls’ enrolment in schools and colleges, and better household incomes than rural areas. Yet women’s employment is increasing in urban areas and declining in rural areas,” she points out.

But what is the reason behind this jobs crisis in rural India? “A decline in public investment in agriculture, and in extension work for dissemination of knowledge coupled with increasing mechanization are the main causes of this crisis of jobs,” says V K Ramachandran, professor of economic analysis at the Indian Statistical Institute, Bangalore. He also blames the severe slowdown in expansion of irrigation and supply of electricity to rural areas for causing jobs to dry up.

Satya Narain Singh, deputy director general of NSSO, told TOI that there were no issues of measurement or sample size in the surveys. He pointed out that the population for 2010 was based on Census projections while that for 2012 was based on actual Census 2011 data. This could introduce a small over-estimation of the 2010 population. But the “decline in female workforce is in line with the trend of decline observed in recent decades”, Singh said.



The Times of India, May 09 2016

Subodh Varma  Of the nearly 25,000 person days of work done under the job guarantee scheme (MNREGA) in Kannapuram gram panchayat in district Kannur, 97% was by women. This seems some kind of a record but Kerala has many such villages -91% work done in 201516 under the jobs scheme was by women.

More than good implementation it's a result of the dismal employment situation in a state repeatedly ranked number one on human development and gender empowerment indices.

The last NSSO employment survey showed the share of working women in women's population was just about 22% in rural areas and 19% in urban ones -almost as poor as the low levels in most north Indian states and unlike any “gender empowered“ state.

In Tamil Nadu, with similar levels of urbanisation and literacy, women's work participation rate is about 38% in rural areas and 20% in urban areas.

Between 2004-05 and 2011-12, the country saw a steep fall in women's employment with work participation plummeting by 32% in rural areas and 11% in urban areas. TN, with its mix of industrial and agricultural production, saw a fall in women working by about 18%.

In Kerala, with agriculture declining and scanty industrialisation, the effect of the workforce's de-feminisation was less calamitous though as painful.

“Women have been pushed into work like teaching in schools where their share is about 70%. Farmwork, the main source of women's employment, has declined. No alternative has emerged,“ says Neetha P of the Centre for Women's Development Studies.

Men's work too has declined but they have seized the oppor tunity to migrate abroad, espe cially to the Gulf.

This prevented a financial collapse of millions of families -one estimate put the total number of Keralites who've ever worked abroad at 3.6 million. Some 1.1 million Keralites also migrated to other states.

Strangely, Kerala is also home to about 2.5 million inmigrants, mostly from Bengal and Odisha. They work as labour in construction and hotels, says Neetha. “Keralites consider it below dignity to work in such positions. Poorer people from other states moved in,“ she added.


Weaker sections hold on to jobs

Namrata Singh, `Women from weaker sections hold on to jobs', March 8, 2017: The Times of India

Role played by career intentionality creators and career intentionality sustainers; Namrata Singh, `Women from weaker sections hold on to jobs', March 8, 2017: The Times of India

Corporate Exposure, Role Models, Mentoring Go Long Way In Tapping Potential, Says Study

Women's attrition remains a big challenge for companies. Tapping into the vast potential of women from underprivileged sections of society could provide the requisite solution through simple methods of creating career intentional initiatives.

Corporate exposure, role models and mentors have emerged as a key vector of career intentionality creators that upgrade women from underprivileged backgrounds, in their careers, according to Avtar Group's career intentionality report, shared exclusively with TOI.These, along with career intentionality sustainers (family support, scholarship, motivation net, additional coaching and infrastructural support) and career intentionality propellers (such as intrinsic skills like determination, focus, hard-work and ambition), form a career development model that has helped women in their socio-economic development (see graph).

The study was conducted between September 2016 and January 2017 and covers 1,488 subjects, who had spent over eight years working for the same organisation at an early career stage. Of these, 34% -or 496 women -came from underprivileged backgrounds and had studied in corpora tiongovernment schools.

Saundarya Rajesh, founderpresident, Avtar Group, said, “This study , which was constructed upon identifying a trend of low attrition associated with women employees from humble backgrounds, revealed that when a girl from an underprivileged family obtains a role model or a mentor who intervenes at critical junctures in her life, she becomes `career-intentional' and, in eight out of 10 cases, is able to complete tertiary education that leads her to a higherpaying job, as compared to what she would have earned as a domestic servant. This presents a unique opportunity for corpora te India to build a new cadre of gender-diverse talent, which has potential to buck the trend of high women's attrition.“

Pratap G, senior director (HR), Maersk Global Services Centre, said, “The deceptive myth of what a `leader looks like' can hinder women from getting into senior leadership position.“ At Asian Paints, mentoring, coaching, job rotationexposure and leadership development are gender-neutral interventions. Emrana Sheikh, VP (HR), Asian Paints, said, “Every drop adds to creating the ocean and, hence, every woman leader that emerges in the organisation sows the inspiration for many others as a role model.“

Gender pay gap

2016: 27%

The Times of India, May 18 2016

Gender pay gap high at 27% in India

The gender pay gap in India stands at 27%, according to the latest Monster's Salary Index (MSI). According to the report, women earned a median gross hourly salary of Rs 207.9 against Rs 288.7 for men. The highest gender pay gap was recorded in the manufactu was recorded in the manufacturing sector at 34.9%, where there are strict regulations with respect to women working in factories. On the other hand, the lowest gender pay gap was recorded in the BFSI and transport, logistics and communication sectors at 17.7%. These sectors see greater participation of women in the workforce.

At a gender pay gap of 27%, India does not fare well compared to other countries. While Monster did not reveal comparative global numbers, other reports have ranked India high among countries (Japan, Ko rea) with a gender pay gap above 25%. In most countries, including the US, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, France Germany and Mexico, the gender pay gap is below 20%. In New Zealand and Spain, it's below 10%. According to reports citing World Bank statistics, on an average, for every $100 earned by a man, a woman was paid around $76.

Reasons attributed by Monster for the gender pay gap in India include a possible preferential treatment towards male employees for promotions to supervisory positions and career breaks taken by women due to parenthood and other socio-cultural factors.

Sanjay Modi, MD (India Middle EastSoutheast Asia Hong Kong), Monster, said, “Worldwide, the lack of pay parity has taken a centre stage with strong views being shared by sportspersons, political and business leaders alike. Men often receive higher salary offers than women vying for the same title in the same organization. Needless to say, the situation is far from desired in India, especially when the country is gearing towards inclusive development.“

Modi said while some cri tics may claim that this gender pay gap is simply due to the choices women make, occupation, family, or education level, “that could not be further from the truth“. “ There is a strong need to create equal opportunities for all, particularly women, who are key contributors in the Indian job market,“ said Modi.

Salary/ wages

2016: Women earned 25% less than men

Women earn 25% less than men in '16: Study , March 7, 2017: The Times of India

Mfg, IT, Fin Top Sectors In Pay Difference

The average gender pay gap in India may have narrowed by two percentage points since last year, but it still stands at a yawning 25%. According to Monster Salary Index (MSI) data from 2016, men earned a median gross hourly salary of Rs 346, while women earned only Rs 260 in 2016. While it is an improvement over last year's over 27%, the pay gap is a notch higher than 24% in 2014. In the manufacturing sector, the average gender pay gap is as high as 30%, even though this is an improvement of 5% points from 2015. This was followed by a 26% pay gap in the IT sector, nearly 22% in the BFSI sector and 15% in education and research.

Sanjay Modi, managing director (APAC & Middle East), Monster.com, said, “In India, the gender pay gap story holds true and the overall gap across India Inc is at 25%. This primarily is a manifestation of the underlying diversity challenges that organisations currently face. There is a dire need for tangible initiatives to bridge this pay gap with removing structural impediments to women's growth, providing ac cess to skills training, jobs, and decision-making.“

According to a `Women of India Inc' survey , which aimed at understanding women's workplace concerns, nearly 44% women feel that gender parity need not be a top priority. On the other hand, almost 69% expressed that even if gender parity is a priority , the management “does not walk the talk“. Over 13% feel absence of proper child care is one of the biggest challenges for women.

“Unexamined conventions of women's commitment to work, distractions of family commitments, societal perception of women who work for long hours, etc, are the challenges that constrain women's progress. Sensitisation towards gender diversity and a step towards examining our socialised preconceptions would help break barriers to a more fair and inclusive work environment,“ said Modi on the separate survey , `Women of India Inc', which was conducted on Monster India's database capturing responses from over 2000 working women.

Working hours

2019/ Tata Steel allows women in night shifts

Dhritiman Ray & B Sridhar, Sep 3, 2019: The Times of India

Tata Steel said it has become the first company in the country to deploy its women workforce in mines at night.

“Tata Steel is the first company in India to deploy women in all shifts in mines. OMQs (ore, mines and quarries) became the first division to deploy women in all shifts with effect from September 1,” the company said in a statement. In the first phase, mining engineers and plant engineers have been deployed in a few key sections of Noamundi mine.

On January 29, the Centre in a gazette notification had allowed women to work in mines between 7pm and 6am, amending the Mines Act, 1952. The law had prevented women from working in any open-cast or underground mine between 7pm and 6am.

The company also started two shifts at its Jamshedpur plant’s shop floor for women employees from September 1. About 52 women employees were deployed at its coke plant and electrical repair shop floor in two shifts (between 6am and 10pm) through the week.

Tata Steel aims to make up 20% of its total workforce with women by 2025, company sources said. As on March 31 this year, women made up 6.5% of the company’s 33,000 employees. “Employing women in mines leads to generation of innovative ideas,” said Arun Mishra, vice-president (raw materials), Tata Steel.

The company added that all the norms are being followed to ensure effective deployment of women in the mines. Sanitary pad-vending machines, canteens for women, rest rooms, female security guards, transportation facilities, among others, are being put in place to aid the process.

Women in the workplace…


Women in the Indian workforce, 1977-2010: participation rates vs. share of total population
From The Times of India

See graphic, 'Women in the Indian workforce, 1977-2010...'

...According to sectors and disciplines

Levels of education, sectors employed in, positions in corporate sector

i) Women’s enrolment in higher education;
ii) The percentage of women workers in the various sectors of the economy;
iii) The percentage of women at the various levels of the corporate sector
Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, February 18, 2016

See graphic:

Women’s enrolment in higher education…

Artificial intelligence, coding, 2018

India and the world: the percentage of men and women employed in Artificial intelligence, coding in 2018- I
From: January 15, 2019: The Times of India
India and the world- the percentage of men and women employed in Artificial intelligence, coding in 2018- II
From: January 15, 2019: The Times of India

See graphics:

India and the world: the percentage of men and women employed in Artificial intelligence, coding in 2018- I

India and the world: the percentage of men and women employed in Artificial intelligence, coding in 2018- II

Chartered accountancy and women

Girls taking CA entrance up 50% in 2 years Sindhu HariharanThe Times of India Nov 29 2014 Chennai

Increase in female takers for CA in India from 2012-2014

The number of women getting into the number-crunching professions is rising. Female enrolments to the common proficiency entrance test (CPT) for the chartered accountancy (CA) course conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) have increased 51% over the past two years (between 2012 and 2014). From 27,784 in 2012, the number went up to 33,460 in 2013 and further rose to 41,957 in 2014.

“There is a positive trend in the intake of all professional courses in general and more so in CA, because of the high levels of employability it offers and its flexibility. Whenever the intake goes up, it's women who contribute more to it,“ said ICAI president K Raghu. He said that girls from humble backgrounds are transforming the lives of their families through this route and in the absence of capitation fee, parents are also supportive of their daughters picking CA.

The corollary is that the number of women chartered accountants is seeing a rise.As per ICAI's data, women made up 20% of the total membership in 2012, a figure which rose to 21% in 2013 and now (in November 2014), women make up for 22% of chargered accountants. Currently, there are almost 50,000 women CAs.

Experts say with education increasingly becoming the key tool for empowerment, the appeal of professional courses is rising and that is seen in the finance profession as well. Narayanan Ramaswamy , partner and head of education sector at KPMG, feels that the nature of the course suits the systematic and studious temperament of girl students.He said the flexible professional life that the course of fers is a huge draw. A CA with a license to practice the profession can work from home and at the same time serve clients worldwide with the technology support available today . “The fact that one can get back to the profession even after a break, by staying updated, is increasing the interest for the course with women,“ says Ramaswamy .

Sripriya K, a practising CA who is one of the six women partners in a Chennaibased CA firm, is a case in point. She quit her well-paying consulting job at a top multi-national for her family and after this break, started her own CA firm along with like-minded women. She believes that being good at multi-tasking, women take to CA naturally and excel in it.

To address dilemmas that are specific to women CAs, the ICAI has now launched a work portal for women to find parttime jobs, jobs with flexi hours or jobs with work from home option. As per ICAI, around 2,000 women CAs have registered in the portal and around 200 CA firms have posted employment opportunities.

The requirement of Companies Act, 2013, to appoint a woman director in every listed company and every public company with a minimum paid up share capital of Rs 100 crore or an annual turnover of at least Rs 300 crore, is likely to support this uptrend.

Corporate sector

Percentage of Indian women in the corporate sector and as CEOs
Why Indian women stay on in their jobs and why they quit.
From The Times of India

See graphic, 'Percentage of Indian women in the corporate sector...'

 Technology and related industries


Sujit John, Dec 12, 2019: The Times of India

Proportion of women in the workplace (%), presumably as in 2018 or early 2019
From: Sujit John, Dec 12, 2019: The Times of India

BENGALURU: All the effort that companies in the technology and related industries in India are putting into hiring women is bearing fruit. Women now constitute 30% of the workforce, up from about 21% five years ago, according to a study by Intel and consulting firm Zinnov.

At the junior level, the figure is as high as 38%. But that drops to 20% at the mid-level, and to 11% at the senior level. Considering women are over 48% of the total population, there’s still a lot of ground for them to cover.

Pari Natarajan, CEO of Zinnov, said concerted efforts over the years have moved the needle from 21% to 30%. “However, the commitment to change needs to move beyond an organisational setting and include an ecosystem-wide lens. Enabling science, technology, engineering and mathematics career options for young women, supporting women-led startups, and encouraging other women entrepreneurs are some of the more impactful initiatives that organisations need to actively look at,” he said.

For every two girls, there are five boys enrolling for professional courses, according to the All India Council for Technical Education. This definitely impacts the number of women transitioning from campus to corporate, Zinnov said. Women’s role as the primary caregiver at home and patriarchal attitudes are other reasons for the lower representation. The report identifies a number of company best practices that are helping to encourage women to stay on at the workplace, or to return to it if they leave.

PayPal’s six-week Recharge programme is focused on empowering women technologists who have taken a break from work for one to five years. Microsoft’s Springboard programme helps returning women with flexible work options, technical upskilling sessions, and assigns them a project guide to support them on projects.

Flipkart has 24 weeks of maternity leave, an additional four months of flexi-working hours with full pay, and a year’s unpaid leave of absence to new mothers. Intel India head Nivruti Rai said a key initiative the company has taken up is Women Innovators, Social Leaders and Entrepreneurs, a charter to accelerate the participation of women in all aspects of the workforce.

The study evaluated 60 companies, big and small. It found that large companies have the highest women representation at 33%, while medium-sized ones have 27% and small companies only 21%.

...According to region

Employment among women, rural and urban

Share of women workers in the urban and rural workplaces, 2007-08
From The Times of India

The Times of India, Feb 18 2016

Namrata Singh

Social mores limit women's job choices  Misplaced societal moralities and a dominant patriarchal influence continue to force urban women to make stereotypical choices on their education as well as career. According to a gender report by leading recruitment consultant TeamLease, shared exclusively with TOI, the percentage of women being enrolled in higher education is greater than men at graduation level (artsscience commerce and BEd), but it is significantly lower in streams like BTech, BE and PhD.

With lesser proportion of women enrolling into technical, vocational and managerial education compared with men, the likelihood of them pursuing a worthwhile career in these fields gets diminished. On the other hand, the report states, rural women are entering the labour force in far larger numbers than urban women do.There is thus a sharper drop in labour force participation rate (LFPR) for urban women. The LFPR of women in India is 25.5%, of which rural women constitute 30.02% and urban women, 15.44%.

Rituparna Chakraborty , co-founder & senior VP , TeamLease, said: “While we are transforming, our society continues to be highly patronizing around the choices women make in their careers. Right from their young age they are conditioned to believe that only specific jobs are suitable for them, to believe that they need not work after marriage or after having children, notwithstanding the overall unfavourable ecosystem which strengthens the stereotypes.“

The demand for equal opportunity stems from this rea lity. “While in absolute terms there are more women in urban areas getting jobs, it's still poor relative to the number of women who are seeking jobs vis-à-vis finding an employment,“ said Chakraborty .

Marital status is understood to be correlated with a decrease in workforce participation of urban women who cite marriage as a reason for taking breaks in career. “It is only in cases where the urban woman's income exceeds the total cost of her enablers, that marital status becomes immaterial,“ said Saundarya Rajesh, founder-president, Avtar Career Creators & Flexi Careers India.

Experts said the outdated societal attitude emphasizes gender roles and propagates bias. The TeamLease report said severe under-representation of women in the workforce in India is symptomatic of extreme inequality and archaic belief systems.


Share of women workers in the Delhi workplace, 2009-10
Labour force participation rates by age and income decile
From The Times of India

Only 8% of Delhi’s women work

Most Employed In Areas With Least Growth; Drop Out Of Job Market In Their 30s & 40s For Childcare

Rukmini Shrinivasan | The Times of India

The Times of India

What do Delhi’s working women do? While the image of a working Delhi woman that comes to mind for many is usually that of a BPO or IT worker, the real employment growth story for Delhi’s women could be a far less glamorous one — paid domestic work.

For one, not a lot of Delhi’s women do any paid work, at least of the sort that current surveys capture. According to data from the 2009-10 National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), just 8% of women above the age of 15 in urban Delhi are in the work force, compared to the national average of almost 20%.

Only Bihar is lower for urban women. The corresponding numbers for men are close to 75% both in Delhi and nationally. Moreover, this number has been steadily declining for women; in 2004-5, it was 8.8% for Delhi’s urban women.

International Labour Organization (ILO) economists Steven Kapsos and Andrea Silberman have identified four major reasons for the decline in female participation in the labour force: growing female enrollment in education, households withdrawing women from the workforce when the family’s income level rises, problems with data and the concentration of women in areas of the economy where there is little job growth.

“Looking at the data over a longer period of time, we find that this last factor explains more than half of the fall in female participation in the labour force between 1994 and 2010,” Kapsos said.

What of the women in Delhi who do work? Researchers Neetha N and Indrani Mazumdar of the Delhi-based Centre for Women’s Development Studies estimate that in 2005, Delhi had around 4.7 lakh women workers. While the proportion o f wo m e n wo rk i n g i n manufacturing in Delhi fell sharply between 1999-2000 and 2004-5 — from 18.9% to 10.9% — the proportion of men working in the same field grew slightly in the same period, they found.

The biggest growth in employment for Delhi’s women during that period was in “private household employment”, which includes maids, cooks, housekeepers and nannies — from 5.3% to 19.6%.

The latest 2009-10 round of the NSSO shows that manufacturing remains the largest employer of Delhi’s urban women, employing 17.1% of Delhi’s working women. Education comes next, employing almost 16% of working women, followed by public administration and defence. Domestic work comes a close fourth. Financial intermediation employs less than 6% of Delhi’s working women.

Delhi’s women workers are clustered at the 20-30 and 40-44 age groups, possibly indicating that childcare largely takes over women’s lives in their thirties and early forties. Graduate and postgraduate women are more likely to work at one end of the spectrum, and illiterate or primary school-educated women at the other end. Women with just a secondary or higher secondary education seem to find securing employment a greater challenge.

The average daily wage for women in urban Delhi is Rs 350, lower than that of men, but higher than the Indian average. The urban parts of Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, all have higher average daily wages for female regular employees.

“Perhaps the most substantial increase in regular work for women in Delhi in the first decade of the 21st century has been in the sphere of domestic work. But it is the fall in the share of manufacturing that distinguishes the changes in distribution of women workers by industry in Delhi from the aggregate picture of all million plus cities,” Neetha and Mazumdar say.

But it would be a mistake to see this rise, and the growing demand for domestic workers, as a “lever to raise the female work participation rates in any significant or meaningful manner” because it has not been able to offset declines in other sectors of employment, they warn.

“Avenues of paid and even unpaid work for women are shrinking, and the crisis in the economy is leading to a severe constriction of employment opportunities for women,” says Indu Agnihotri, CWDS’ director and one of Delhi’s leading feminist historians.

…In jobs traditionally held by men


Namrata Singh, The rise of women in male workplace, March 8, 2019: The Times of India

Replace Up To 15% Of Jobs That Are Traditionally Men-Dominated: Study

Gender diversity numbers may not be statistically balanced yet. However, women today are not only seen to be breaking age-old patriarchal doctrines but also raiding male bastions as well.

A study by TeamLease Services, done exclusively for TOI, reveals 12-15% of traditionally male-dominated jobs are estimated to have been replaced by women. These include train/ bus drivers, mining engineers and private detectives (see graphic).

ITC Hotels said the number of women in the food & beverage departments increased 41% in three years. When Manisha Bhasin started out as a summer trainee at ITC Maurya, she had her eyes fixed on the chef ’s cabin. Today, Bhasin dons the chef ’s hat at the same hotel. “If you are persistent, have a clear focus and are passionate about your work, you can achieve your goals,” said Bhasin, who is designated senior executive chef at ITC Maurya, New Delhi.

Bhasin credits mentoring by her seniors as a key enabler for the growth in her career. She doesn’t believe women chefs are paid less than male chefs, clearly debunking any theory of a gender pay gap. “A chef is a chef is a chef. Irrespective of gender, one works equally hard,” she said.

Women in India may be shining in sports and services, but they are also roughing it out on the shop floor in manufacturing. Yogita Raghuvanshi, a heavy commercial vehicle driver, chose the field to earn a good income. “The job provides me Rs 2,000-3,000 a day. This was an important aspect for me because I had to raise two children on my own as my husband had passed away,” said Raghuvanshi. “I also fulfil my passion of driving and travelling across states,” added Raghuvanshi.

Some of the lines at Mahindra & Mahindra’s (M&M’s) manufacturing plants are run 100% by women. In automobiles, M&M has increased the strength of women on the shop floor from 33 in FY14 to 301 till the first half of FY19. It now plans to double this number by FY21. Before hiring 33% women engineer graduates, along with hiring women in support functions, M&M began with preparing a gender-friendly infrastructure. Today, M&M has women as forklift drivers, plant engineers, welders and painters. M&M chief of manufacturing (automotive division) Vijay Kalra said, “They have broken all stereotypes.”

TeamLease Services co-founder & executive VP Rituparna Chakraborty said, “Traditionally, occupations with a very poor representation of women are found in sectors like construction, manufacturing and engineering.” On the other hand, women have made great inroads into banking & financial services, consumer goods & durables, automotive, insurance, pharma and healthcare. “Though the level of dedication shown by females is equal to their male counterparts, yet the salaries of women in male-dominated jobs are less. Women get paid 20% less than men,” said Chakraborty.

See also

Migration Abroad For Employment Women

Women in politics: India

Nurses: India

Women and crime: India

Women in senior corporate positions: India

Women in senior positions: South Asia

Women in sports

Women’s employment: India

Working women: South Asia

Personal tools