Despite significant progress in recent decades, workplaces worldwide remain divided along gender lines. In many countries, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a drop in female labour force participation and in countries such as India, women’s participation in paid work remains low. At every stage in the labour market, including job search, wage negotiations, promotion to middle and senior management, and access to and cost of finance, women tend to face barriers. Even if sometimes unintended, several such constraints stop women from developing their full economic potential.
Women carry out a large part of household work and childcare/elderly care. Further, cultural norms around the type of work women can take up restrict women’s entry into paid work, especially when jobs are scarce in industries that traditionally employ women. Low-income women workers are even more vulnerable due to a lack of control over their earnings, lack of assets, and lower intra-household bargaining power. In addition, women tend to be more adversely impacted by infrastructure constraints in transport networks, access to personal vehicles, electricity and water infrastructure, quality and affordable childcare, safety and sexual harassment during commute and at workplaces, and inadequate sanitation facilities, among others.
This conference will deliberate the above-mentioned interlinked issues in the context of India and discuss the ways to bring about change to lower barriers to Indian women’s effective participation in the labour market.