Giving Compass' Take:

• Dona Tomy and Sneha Menon explore how policies in India intend to support women working and why they are failing. 

• How can funders help to lift up women working in India? 

• Learn how social enterprise is changeing women's work in India

The Indian government has actively pursued policies to increase the female labor/workforce participation (FLWP) rate in the country for several decades. Their approach has evolved from educational scholarships, reservations, and quotas, to self-employment through self-help groups (SHGs), and more recently to capacity building through skill training programs.

Yet FLWP has been on a downward trend. Labour bureau data shows that FLWP fell by 7 million between 2013-2015, and as per the latest NSSO PLFS survey 2017-2018, only 17.5 percent of women are part of the labor force, compared to 55.5 percent of men.

In our study—Female Work and Labour Force Participation in India—to understand the current policy landscape, a database of 53 legislations and policies was created, through a review of the 2018-2019 budget and government repositories. It documents the policies’ gender focus, targeting strategies, inclusion mechanisms, eligibility criteria, and geographic focus, among other indicators.

While the success of female entrepreneurship programmes and the SHG movement have helped policymakers recognise the potential that women have to further India’s economic growth, women-oriented policies need more thought.

Read the full article about women and work in India by Dona Tomy and Sneha Menon at India Development Review.