Shahida, Aura & Stories Of Two Markets

Source: The post is based on an article “Shahida, Aira & Stories of Two markets” published in the Times of India on 7th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS3 – Inclusive Growth

Relevance: Female Labour Force Participation

News: In recent times, a number of surveys from the government and from private organisations like CMIE were released about the women labour force participation rate.

What is the situation wrt women labour force participation rate in India?

Indian women’s labour force participation is one of the lowest in the world.

Further, jobs done by most women are found to be in the informal sector.

What are the issues in women’s labor force participation?

Most of the women do work out of compulsion, not by choice. For example, Shahida worked by compulsion because her husband fell chronically ill and could work no more. So Shahida had to find work.

There is a widening gap in women’s work participation. The reasons are complex.

The government cannot reduce these gaps through job reservations or tax incentives to employers for hiring women because the problem is deeper.

Way Forward

(A)  Role models

– Story of Shahida, a 21-years old self-employed e-rickshaw driver who lives in eastern Uttar Pradesh.

She received a day-long training to drive the e-rickshaw and change its tyres with the help of an NGO. Now she runs a e-rickshaw on rent.

– Aura, a cancer survivor,

She emigrated from Colombia to the US. She has a fulltime job, as a cleaner in a building at an educational facility. She also has social security like health insurance.

Further, on weekends, she cleans houses to supplement her income.

(B) There should be a change in gender norms that allow and expect a woman to take charge of her life

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