The participation of Indian women in the workforce fell 10 percent in the past decade as India recorded the lowest female labour force participation (FLFP) rate as per the Aan Assocham-Thought Arbitrage Research study 2016. The FLFP rates during the period among BRICS countries was found to be - China (64 percent), Brazil (59 percent), Russia (57 percent), South Africa (45 percent) and India (27 percent). One of the prominent reasons for this is lack of access to higher education among women and dearth of fine opportunities to work. Even lack of flexibility in working conditions tends to dissuade women from joining the labour force.
Unemployment to underemployment, unequal salary, gender hostile environment are some significant issues that need to be fixed. Unfortunately, discrimination against women can be practiced by women also. Organisation culture, individual mindsets and practices need to be altered from time to time. Deeply embedded power structures are rigid, hard to change & require a constant effort. Informal cultural norms and exclusionary practices that perpetuate uneven power practices need to be persistently examined and changed, hence.
When organisations encourage their employees to freely speak about discrimination by providing space for reflection, they foster an environment conducive for change. This is something that needs to encouraged. The leaders of the organisation need to be more humane & proactive, thereby promoting the benefit and convenience of policies that follow a work life balance. There is a strong need to start and sustain a dialogue on gender equality in the workplace as workplaces cultures transform and address, patriarchal effects.
There is some evidence to suggest that even among civil society organisations, women get lower wages than men for the some work. Sexual harassment and gender discrimination also exist in civil society organisations despite the fact that their focal area of work is women's empowerment. This can be attributed to financial, social and cultural curtailment. It is imperative that policy measures and programmes are introduced and implemented to increase the productive participation of women in the workforce in India.
My own journey since 1996 has been very challenging and honestly speaking, not a fair one. Work politics was an integral part across sectors from corporate to development to government & then higher education. Women still haven't come together to fight against injustices. Sexual Harassment committees are either not there or exist only on paper. Concerned officers in such committees are most often than not, not adequately trained. Women Human Rights should be spread through various effective awareness programmes and right to information must be exercised, when required.
About Dr. Aparna Srivastava
Aparna Srivastava is presently working as Associate Professor (Political Science & Human Rights), School of Liberal Arts, Noida International University.
She has 20 + years of experience in research & teaching. She has worked for the development sector, National Human Rights Commission of India & UNDP earlier. She did her Schooling from St. Mary’s Convent, Allahabad & completed higher studies from the University of Allahabad. She was awarded a highly competitive & prestigious doctoral fellowship from Bureau of Police Research & Development, MHA, GOI, for her doctoral work on ‘Role of Police in a Changing Society.’
She has publications to her credit and has presented papers in International and national forums. She has been a Panelist for determining the curricular content on Feminist Jurisprudence for LLM Course, conducted by the National Commission for Women (NCW) & was in the research team constituted for the High Level Committee on the Status of Women in India (A joint collaboration of Ministry of Women & Child Development & UNDP).
She was nominated by the National Human Rights Commission of India for the Regional Conference and training in Human Rights for Representatives from National Human Rights Institutions in the Asia Pacific, in Bangkok.
She likes voicing, travelling, reading and music.