The need and importance of mainstreaming gender across sectors cannot be emphasised enough. Somewhere between modernisation in India and United Nation’s goal of having 50% women in the changing world of work, figures of Indian female labour force participation (FLFP) is set in a miserable picture.
According to a report, compiled jointly by Assocham and Thought Arbitrage Research study, participation of Indian women in the workforce fell down by 10% during the last decade.
Though there was a spurt in the number of working women in India during 2000-2005, increasing from 34% to 37%, the female labour force participation rate has reduced continuously thereafter and reached 27% in 2014.
Currently, about 90% of the workforce is in the unorganised sector whereas about 1.6 million women are employed in the organised sector.
The United Nations theme for International Women’s Day, this year focused on “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”. With the current state of participation of women, this looks difficult but we can certainly keep up the hopes.
“It is never the sex that determines success; it is always the idea and its execution. And ideas aren’t gender-specific. Women entrepreneurs are not marching equally with their male counterparts, they are even racing ahead – and there’s proof! According to the 2016 BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report, 61% women entrepreneurs expected profits to rise in the next year, compared to an average of 58%. Moreover, companies helmed by women entrepreneurs had 13% higher revenues than those run by men,” said Jyoti Sharma, Co-founder & COO, Abroad Shiksha
In order to make Planet 50-50 a reality, a list of measures will have to be taken to promote employability of women. Many factors play against females to let them be a part of the workforce. These may be social, family-oriented, safety, workplace policies, disproportionate remuneration and type of work amongst others. All these factors will have to be paid attention to aim the objective.
Men in India earn 67% more on average than women, according to a survey conducted by Accenture which shows that disparity in the country is much higher than the global average of 40% across industries. On current trends, the pay gap won’t close until 2080 in developed markets, and 2168 in developing markets, as per research based on the survey.
Digital fluency, career strategy and tech immersion could together reduce pay gap in India 19% by 2030, the research estimates. This will lead to an addition of 2.2 crore women to the paid workforce and add $39 billion to women’s income by 2030.
Adding to this imbalance is the fact that women (50%) are much less likely than men (76%) to have paid work. In India, 80% of the pay gap is attributed to lack of female participation in the workforce. On this metric, globally for every $100 a woman earns a man earns $258.
Companies are slowly taking up the issue and assuring 50-50 gender presence at their workplaces. Ingersoll Rand entered the Paradigm for Parity Coalition and pledged to bring gender parity to its corporate leadership structure by 2030. The organisation has an action plan to bring this gender parity that includes:
- Minimising or eliminating unconscious biases in the workplace;
- Significantly increasing the number of women in senior operating roles;
- Measuring and communicating progress and results regularly;
- Basing career progress on business results and performance and creating culture change for flexible work arrangements; and
- Providing sponsors, as well as mentors, to potential women leaders.
The board of Vedanta, a natural resources company has also set a target to reach over 33% by 2020 and Planet 50-50 by 2030.
Shweta Sastri, Executive Director, Canadian International School (CIS) said, “We have a long way to go for the 50:50 scenario. We only talk about equal rights and gender equality. It truly has to be ingrained sub consciously in every person. If as women we need to increase working hours, social issues such as safety of women on the street need to be addressed at the earliest. There has to be social comfort if we are going home late too.”
Read more stories from the #OfficiallyShe series.
Part I- Women Orbiting Change
Part II- Not Without My Medal
Part III- Are You Ready For 50-50?
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The CSR Journal Team