To what extent, the economic liberalization has been able to bridge the gender gap in Indian workforce? Critically discuss.

Economic liberalization refers to the relaxation of government regulations and restrictions in an economy to attract greater participation by private entities. It promotes the economic development of a country.  The policy of economic liberalization consists of partial or full privatization of government organizations and assets, more labor market flexibility, lower business tax rates, minimized restriction on both domestic and foreign trade, open markets, etc.

Gender inequality problems in India

The constitution of India has the provision of equal representation of men and women in the workforce. But the problem of gender disparities remains. As far as the condition of the workforce is concerned, men are considered more preferable than women. The discrimination faced by women has a serious impact on their lives, career development, and progress to mental health.

Present scenario

The economic liberalization in India failed to reduce gender discrimination. In the manufacturing sector, the proportion of women’s participation is not satisfactory.

  • Women’s participation is mainly confined to the unorganized sector.
  • In the chemical industry, tobacco industry, paper industry, the participation of women has crossed 50% though they are facing a problem of lower average wages.
  • In the core industry, their participation is as low as 2%.
  • In the sanitation and education industry, women’s share of ownership exceeds 30%.
  • The lowest women participation has been noticed in the transport sector.

Way out

  • Better availability of essential needs of households like electricity and water access may reduce the burden and the adequate time will attract women participation in entrepreneurial activities.
  • Formulation of new provisions under MGNREGA for more participation of unskilled women.
  • More women representation by formulating similar reservation schemes likewise in the local government bodies.

Comment

The gender gap problem is a big concern and plays a more strategic role in India’s future growth. Female labor participation in the workforce will improve productivity, significant economic benefits, and smooth flow of the nation’s development.

Question for UPSC Mains:
To what extent, the economic liberalization has been able to bridge the gender gap in Indian workforce? Critically discuss.

Published: September 18, 2017 | Modified:September 12, 2020

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