Women's participation in the workforce is at an all time low. This is one of the most evident gender disparities we see today, reasons go deep. Let’s explore some of the challenges at the top and solutions which are buried at the bottom.
We at NexSchools would continue to shine a light on such issues and committed to working towards gender parity.
Let us begin with the good news and achievement of women in India -The women in India are closing the gender gap when it comes to education there are 53 % of women enrolled for undergraduate courses and about 41% go on to pursue Ph.D. programs.
Despite education gains when we look at the labour force participation rate in India which is at an extremely low level when compared with the world. The women joining the workforce after having gained sound higher education is only 20% compared to men who join in a large percentage of 82%.
This is one of the most evident gender disparities we see today. We at NexSchools would continue to shine a light on such issues.
What Does Achieving The Gender Gap Mean For India?
Achieving gender equality could mean annually adding $770 billion to India’s GDP by 2025. – Report By McKinsey.
If women also participate in economic activities in equal numbers to those of men – India’s GDP would be 27% greater. – As per the IMF estimate
India’s women labour force population has been declining from a high of 31% in 2005 to merely 20% in 2020. We are facing an all time labour force participation in India.
What is labour force participation rate?
The percentage of the working population between the age-group of 16 and 64 years, currently employed or seeking employment in the economy.
India now holds tenth last place in the share of working women in the world, which means only 9 countries around the world now have the lesser proportion of working women than India.
The COVID- 19 has worsened the situation for women. A preliminary study found that women have lost more jobs than men in this pandemic crisis. To overcome curb in economic downturn brought by COVID-19, some states have proposed changes in labour laws which could widen the gap inequality gap. Uttar Pradesh has dropped 35 out of 38 labour laws for three years. The labour laws that were favourable for women such as the Minimum Wage Act, Maternity Benefit Act, Equal Remuneration Act (ERA), and many more are among the dropped laws. In the absence of all these laws, more women are already out of the workforce. Such government policies have a direct relation to the gender pay gap without the safety of ERA.
The Digital Divide also adds up to women left out of the workforce. Digital skills can be the game-changer in bridging the digital divide and gender equity.
Under presented in the parliament but did you know women hold 46 percent of seats in Panchayati Raj institutions.
"There is no denying there are many odds and numerous factors which contribute to gender inequality in education, health and economic activities. There is nothing better than the theme put together by International Women’s Day 202, to break the ice of inner barrier within each woman and girl. I remember a toy laptop my daughter owned when she was 3 years old, every time a question was asked the message played, “challenge yourself” and the voice still echoes in my ears. Before blaming the system, our surroundings, policies, etc., we must challenge ourselves. So putting into action “I #ChooseToChallenge myself by women and girls every day and in every way would be the true meaning of women’s day in my opinion. It doesn’t need a day in the month of March to remind yourself, it comes every day and every moment for every one of us so go for it and seize your moment." Mradula Singh, Founder NexSchools
A large number of women who are very able, loaded with knowledge, wisdom is out of our workforce, and bringing them back would require just a little nudge and opportunities such as women-friendly employers, flexible working hours, mompreneur, safe working places. Next time a fellow sister writes a post about the new venture, a new job, or beginning in her career don’t hesitate to congratulate her, encourage her and above all support her by sharing it with few more friends in your group.
The COVID-19 has opened up opportunities for many women who were very talented - and were able to set up small businesses from home in online tutoring & education, homemade meals, snacks, baking also some women who lost the business due to lockdown emerged and adapted to the change by manufacturing non-surgical masks with varied designs and colors.
Education Is The Key To Bridging Gender Inequality
Finding solutions for gender inequalities through education is the way forward.
The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No 5 – Gender Equality is not just a fundamental human right but is also a foundation for a peaceful and sustainable world. So the SDG No 4 and 5 are interlinked and quality education can help bridge gender inequality in our world.
The National Education Policy (NEP) has also laid down many guidelines under “Equitable and Inclusive Education –Learning For All - The policy additionally recognises the special and critical role that women play in society and in shaping social mores; therefore, providing a quality education to girls is the best way to increase the education levels, not just in the present but also in future generations.”
The stereotypes, taboo, and cultural mindset change can find solutions through quality education, beginning in the early years of learning. The solution is clear start from the bottom-up approach, which means the Early Childhood Education (ECE) where the seeds of gender norms are ingrained, children develop an understanding of identities, behaviours, and stereotypes. The focus of the preschool curriculum must be built for imparting an education that eliminates gender stereotypes and therefore, erases the gender gap.
Peer to peer learning and exhanging ideas in the initiatives for the awareness and advocacy of Sustainable Development Goals like RiseUp4SDGs also encourages the schools and educators to inegrate social causes in their classrooms. RiseUp4SDGs has brought hundreds of educators from the world who are inspiring thousands of others in intilling attitudes and values for sustainable world among children as well as community.
A good school can support gender equality by strengthening the school curriculum from a gender lens as well. Educating the children from an early age about equality and respect could also be a meaningful start in this direction.
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