India Witnessed 10% Decline In Women Workforce Between 2005-14; Why Women Are Quitting Their Jobs En Masse?


Working Women

Women empowerment movement in India has received a serious setback after depressing facts were revealed in a latest International Labour Organization report. Within the last 10 years, that is between 2005 & 2014, India witnessed massive decline of women workers, which is highest in the world. Compared to 2005, India had 10% less women in workforce in 2015, which is a disturbing trend.

More disturbing is the fact that in the previous 15 years, that is between 1990 and 2005, percentage of working women increased from 35% to 37%.

But what exactly happened between 2005 and 2015 that percentage of Indian women workers declined sharply to 27%? Besides India, no other country in the world witnessed such sharp decline in women workers.

At 9% is a tiny European country called Moldova, whereas at 7% decline is another tin South Asian country called Timor-Leste. Interestingly, China witnessed only 3% decline in women workforce in the same period.

Globally, 114 countries out of 185 witnessed an increase in women’ participation in workforce; while only 41 countries witnessed decline in this percentage. India, unfortunately, topped this list of declining percentage.

Countries with maximum Women Workforce Reduction

Women Workforce Reduction

Why Women Leaving Workforce Is A Bad Sign?

As per Mckinsey’s report on gender inequality, Indian economy may lose Rs 46 lakh crore by 2025. This prediction may soon turn into reality if women in India continue to leave workforce en masse, and chose to become housewives.

Add to this fact that 49% of Indian women don’t see any need of accessing Internet, and the situation becomes grim and hopeless.

Although Indian Govt. is attempting to bring forward Indian women and encourage them to do more jobs, open new companies and contribute to the overall development of India, the recent ILO report makes us to think hard what exactly is missing in this whole exercise.

It seems that symbol of women empowerment such as Neeta Ambani, who is Asia’s most powerful businesswomen are not able to inspire and motivate Indian women to choose a career and a profession which encourages their growth and prosperity.

Why Women Are Leaving Work in India?

Massive gap in salaries of men and women can be a strong reason for this mass exodus. In 2014, we reported that female techies are earning 29% less than men in IT companies. Besides there exists heavy discrimination in terms of women workers, as most of the high paying posts are often given to men in India. In 2015, this gender inequality and salary gap widened to 34%.

Last year, one survey revealed that 35% of women employees felt that gender discrimination exists.

And even if Govt. interferes in implementing women centric rules in corporate structure, it doesn’t help. In May last year, 169 companies were scolded for not having a women director.

This severe decline in women participation in workforce needs some serious debate among ourselves; and we should ask our Govt. about the reasons for the same.

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