Indian Women: The dormant power

According to the ILO’s Global Employment Trends 2013 report , India’s labour force participation rate (LFPR) for women fell from just over 37 per cent in 2004-05 to 29 per cent in 2009-10 till 27.4 per cent in 2015-16. Out of 131 countries with available data, India ranks 11th from the bottom in female labour force participation.

Data for these years throws up a worrying revelation for the same linking it with age old gender norms in India; in a male dominated society, women are rarely encouraged to seek jobs outside their homes. There are also biases against certain jobs which lead to poor participation of women in the labour force.

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Women today contribute less than a fifth of India’s GDP and make up for just 24% of the workforce, compared to 40% globally. Without much stronger participation from them, India will continue to fall short of its economic potential. In comparison to India, women in Bangladesh have increased their participation in the labour market, which is due to the growth of the ready-made garment sector and a push to rural female employment, thanks to microfinance. In 2015, women comprised of 43% of the labour force in Bangladesh.

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In terms of declining employment opportunities, occupational segregation appears to play an important role in holding women back: Women in India tend to be grouped in certain industries and occupations such as basic agriculture, sales and elementary services and handicraft manufacturing. Increasing educational enrolment, improvement in earnings of male workers also discourages women’s economic participation along with the lack of employment opportunities at certain levels of skills and qualifications discouraging women to seek work.

Increasing the role of women in India’s economy represents a $750-billion opportunity by 2025. A profession which can be the harbinger for change to these dismal statistics is professional caregiving. With over 600 million Indians living in cities by 2025 and over 300 million of them above the age of 60, demand for caregiving is going to require 3 million allied health professionals and 2 million nurses in India alone. With rising no of working couples, nuclear families and an increase in chronic and lifestyle diseases, women could not have asked for a more nobler and natural profession than caregiving.

Most caregivers YouCare have had the experience to work with are adept at handling their children and of their relations. Most of them have also nursed and nurtured ill parents, in-laws, drunken or sick husbands and are emotionally and mentally mature to handle life`s setbacks and hardships. This gives them an excellent platform to offer their services to families struggling with hands on deck to nurse a sick parent or nurture a spoilt child. With a little handholding and lessons in hygiene, first aid and professionalism, most caregivers do such an excellent job that they can offer training to others under them.

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So, to the untrained youth and jobless women, do not despair. Very soon, you will find courses in professional caregiving being offered on a scale similar to hairdressing, yoga or electronic service. With opportunities arising to work internationally as a certified caregiver, the boom in this industry is likely to take everyone with surprise.

Till then…#YOUCARE!!

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