Among all developing countries in the world, India shows consistently low rates of female labor force participation across the country. Particularly in rural areas of the region where the decline is seen by 24% based on the findings of the Initiative for What Works for Advancing Women and Girls in the Economy (IWWAGE), a grant from the Bill and Foundation Foundation. Melinda Gates.

The report generated by IWWAGE on ‘To work or not: What determines the participation of women in the workforce in India?’ showed that between 2011 and 2019, 30% rural women operated in sectors and industries that relied on low-skilled occupations, while urban women showed a huge increase in work for service sector-based businesses. In 2018-19, the overall participation of women in rural areas engaged in agriculture was recorded in 70.8% Considering that women working in the service sector in urban areas showed 63.2%.

Why has the rate dropped?

In the agricultural sectors between the years 2011 to 2019, the percentage of female labor experienced a sharp fall of 62% to 54.7% Based on the fact that women continue, they have continued to take vulnerable and marginal jobs in recent years. Although more than half start to be self-employed, the rest end up being a poorly paid worker or contributing as a family worker.

Marriage and children

One of the most common reasons observed for the drop in these percentages is because women choose to stop working after marriage or when they have young children. The participation rate falls in 17% according to the report in both urban and rural areas of India. What is also observed is that women tend to participate more in household chores, which often goes unnoticed and therefore undervalued.


While education plays a very important role in increasing the role of women in the labor force participation rate, it is surprising to learn that women who have no more than a primary education are in fact the most likely to work than those who have obtained secondary education or secondary education. higher. In urban areas, women who have obtained a higher education are 12% more likely to participate in the workforce than others.

The global average participation of women in the labor force is Four. Five% and India showed a rate of only 24.5% in 2018-19, much less than the world average recorded. Women’s participation in the urban workforce is also restricted to 36% after getting a graduate degree in urban India. It is also observed that women associated with high-income households tend to withdraw from the labor force, further reducing the rate.

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