Women have always played a positive role in the economy. No sector be it, agriculture industry, medicine, engineering, education, theater, domestic work et al. or even unpaid work has proliferated without the participation of women. In spite of these affirmations, we have still not realized the economic rights of women and continuously fail to give them their due credit and recognition. At every stage and in almost every sector, women face discrimination. Unrecognized for their contributions women are treated unequally. Just to check a few facts, women around the world perform two-third of the work for merely 10% of the income and only 1% of the assets. Their participation in the economy through private sector in both, large and small, formal and informal sector play a pivotal role in boosting the economy.
India’s speedy urbanisation has not yet encouraged more women to participate in the labour force. With decrease in rural jobs, many women have been unable to make a transition into urban area for jobs. India ranks 120 among 131 countries in female labour force participation while gender based violence remain high. The latest census figures list only 32.8 % women as primary workers in the agricultural sector, in contrast to 81.1% men. But one cannot deny the fact that agriculture industry has employed more than 80 to 100 million women to prepare the land, selecting seeds, applying manure, and then harvesting, winnowing and threshing. And all this is in addition to the household chores they perform. Women work harder and longer than their male counterparts and yet, they remain invisible and unaccredited.
The development and empowerment of women is imperative for the inclusive growth and progress of the nation. Women have always proved their mettle as innovators, entrepreneurs, skill developers, sportsperson, and homemakers but, still the myths and stereotypes attached to their business doing capacity and capabilities are the stumbling blocks in the road towards progress. According to a study, within the development sector itself the percentage of women in multinational companies in India is just 25% compared with 42.9% in China. Women’s participation in economic and corporate activities is vital for the advancement and growth of India as a nation. Policies such as the New Companies Act 2013 for empowerment of women have been passed to address such issues within the development sector. But the implementation remains another call of action within the industries and companies.
At this juncture, there are many questions we can ask to ourselves to recognize the role of women and to strengthen the future of our economy. Men should take the lead by breaking the glass ceiling, and shatter the myths and stereotypes that are tagged to women and see them as their equal partners in every space.
If the future is really female, we must trust and start accommodating them. Can we? YES we can…