BENGALURU: The participation of women in the labour market continues to be dismal at 10.3 per cent, according to a latest survey by the Initiative for What Works to Advance Women and Girls in the Economy (IWWAGE), a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant-holder.
The report suggested that around 90 per cent of the women who are aged 15 or more in urban India are not employed, neither are they actively seeking employment. It added that the Covid-19 and subsequent lockdowns impacted the labour market, but had a devastating impact on employment opportunities for women.
Nearly 71 per cent of the women in urban areas and 58 per cent of women in rural areas, as per the survey, had no written job contract, and over half of the salaried women workers across rural and urban geographies were not eligible for paid leaves and any social security benefits. While it is easier to track the economic status of women in the formal sector, the majority of India’s female workforce is engaged in the informal sector.
IWWAGE also noted that women are able to dedicate only 5.8 hours a day on average to their home-based businesses, which is intermittently interrupted by 6.6 hours of unpaid caregiving work. Amongst women entrepreneurs nearly 79 per cent said that they witnessed low sales and reduced customer footfall during 2020.
Notably, at a time when digital adoption in the country is at an all-time high, a huge gender gap exists when it comes to acess of mobile phones/ internet in the country. The report by IWWAGE noted that there is a 20 per cent gender gap in the mobile ownership in India with 79 per cent of men owning a mobile as opposed to 63 per cent women.