The XX Factor
India needs two strategies to address jobs and access while complementing digital approach:
1. The XX Factor -Bringing women to the workforce
2. Entrepreneurs everywhere -Preparing the ground for thriving entrepreneurs throughout the country.
The XX Factor
Despite the pressing case for women working, just 23% of Indian working age women are in the labour force.
More than 120 million women have Secondary Education but they do not participate in the workforce. Even if half of them entered the workforce, the number of people with secondary education in the workforce would increase from 33% to 46%!
India's workforce is missing out on its educated women. The problem is not just of bringing women into the workforce but of ensuring that they stay in the course.
Three reasons why women are not there?
1. Unpaid work
2. Safety and mobility
3. Underlying gender norms
A typical educated urban working woman with a child loses over 15% of salary due to the gender pay gap and about one sixth to childcare.
For every hour of housework that men put in cleaning, nurturing, cooking women put in 10 hours. This is another kind of a shadow economy.
Solutions to get women working:
1. India should invest heavily in the care sector. The biggest challenge is to end the stigma of outsourcing care because of guilt associated with it. Investing in Creches and old age homes and nurturing centers can lessen the burden on women and encourage their participation in the workforce.
2. Address unintended consequences through smart gender policies- Revision of Maternity bill, revisiting the equal remuneration act.
3. Amplify the counter narrative
- Start early-we should have textbook showing gender neutrality
- Magnifying experiences that break the mold of relatable role models helps in changing the mindset.
- Industry level collaboration and targeted platforms can help prepare the ground for gender balance.