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Women’s potential holds key to 10% growth for India

By Kamal Das

In recent years, India has been on a remarkable trajectory, aiming to solidify its position as a global economic powerhouse. This journey is propelled by robust growth rates that underscore the nation’s potential to transform not just its economy but also make significant contributions to the world economy. India continues to grow at among the world’s highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rates in the world and at nearly double the average for emerging market economies. However, achieving a sustained 10% growth hinges on one crucial factor: Greater female participation in the workforce.

Despite gradual improvements, women’s participation in jobs across India remains low compared to global benchmarks. This represents a vast reservoir of potential. Fortunately, recent data highlights a significant uptick in women’s labour force participation rate (FLFPR), climbing from 23.3% in 2017-18 to 37% in 2022-23. This shift, particularly evident in rural areas comprising skilled agricultural labour, reflects women’s growing involvement in productive activities.

The aviation sector, for instance, boasts the highest proportion of female pilots globally, signifying progressive strides in certain domains. Women comprise a remarkable 15% of the nation’s 10,000 pilots, compared to a global average of 5%.

Recognising this untapped potential, the government has proactively implemented policies and programmes aimed at bolstering female participation in the workforce. The Code on Wages 2019 is one such legislative measure, ensuring gender equality in wages and employment conditions. Moreover, initiatives like the Atmanirbhar Bharat package, with a fiscal stimulus exceeding 27 lakh crores, and the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY), facilitating collateral-free loans for businesses, have been pivotal in promoting women’s employment and entrepreneurship.

In addition to significant governmental efforts and societal shifts towards gender equality, the lakhpati didi programme stands as a testament to India’s commitment to women’s empowerment. This ambitious initiative aims to empower two crore rural women by equipping them with practical skills, such as plumbing and LED bulb making, and ultimately encouraging entrepreneurship.

Despite notable progress, India continues to lag behind the global standards in female workforce representation. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), doubling the percentage of women in the workforce by 2025 could substantially boost India’s GDP. This underscores the urgent need to enhance female labour participation for sustained economic growth.

India recognises the pivotal role of women in fuelling its ascent as an economic powerhouse. Integrating women fully into the economic fabric not only ensure gender parity but also catalyses enduring economic development. As India charts its course towards becoming one of the world’s top three economic powers, prioritising the inclusion of women remains central to its growth narrative.

Source: Hindustan Times

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