A woman-shaped gap in the Indian workforce

A mix of social constraints and dearth of employment opportunities has kept women out of the labour market, leading to a huge opportunity cost to the nation

Women in India face enormous challenges for their participation in the economy — in a way that mirrors the many injustices they suffer in the society at large. The labour participation rate of women — that is, the number of women in the labour force as a proportion of the total female population — provides an indicator of some of these challenges. In 2008, the labour participation rate in India was only 33 per cent for females as compared to 81 per cent for males. By way of comparison, it was 68 per cent. Among Indian States, the female labour participation rate is one of the lowest in Delhi, a region also known for its harsh treatment of women.



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