Indian Express Editorial Summary

Topic 1: From Home to Workplace: Empowering Women for a Developed India

GS-3 Mains  : Economy

Revision Notes

Question : Discuss the challenges faced by women in accessing skilling programs and transitioning to high-quality, formal jobs in India.


  • A new government aims to achieve a developed India (“Viksit Bharat”) by 2047.
  • Women’s economic empowerment is crucial, as they currently lag behind on well-being indicators.

Policies for Gender Parity:

1.Focus on Labor-Intensive Sectors:

  • India’s employment rate (50%) is lower than China (70%) and Bangladesh (55%) (ILO & World Bank).
  • Increasing women’s workforce participation (LFP) from 25% to 50% could raise GDP to 8% and create a $5 trillion economy by 2030 (World Bank).
  • Expand manufacturing (13% of GDP) – especially garments and footwear with high female participation.
  • Use Production Linked Investment (PLI) schemes in these sectors to create jobs and overcome disadvantages for women.

2.Formalize the Economy:

  • Developed countries have a dominant formal sector.
  • India struggles with transitioning to “good jobs” and high-productivity activities.
  • High-quality, relevant, and affordable skilling is crucial, especially for women.
  • Only 25% of employed Indians have salaried jobs (compared to 55% in China and 40% in Bangladesh).
  • Structural transformation away from agriculture and the informal sector disproportionately affects women.
  • Policy lacks focus on gender imbalances in skilling.

Skilling for Women:

  • Improve access, financial support, and job placement after training.
  • Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) are affordable but have low female enrollment (7%).
  • Consider more training institutes exclusively for women.
  • Distance to centers and credit constraints hinder access.
  • Families might hesitate to invest due to perceived low returns for women.
  • Provide targeted credit access, scholarships, and stipend support.
  • Employers can incentivize up-skilling with performance-based rewards and zero-interest loans.

Beyond Skilling:

  • Women still face worse employment outcomes after training.
  • Address this through career counseling and job placement support.
  • Leverage alumni networks for female mentorship to bridge the gender gap.

3.Promoting Women-Friendly Urbanization:

  • Rapid urbanization is underway in India.
  • Young married women with children are less likely to migrate or enter non-farm sectors compared to men.
  • Limited physical mobility restricts urban women’s access to education and work.
  • Policy needs a gender perspective on urban infrastructure, transportation, and public safety.
  • High-quality, subsidized childcare facilities could free women from care work and create new jobs.

4.Reducing Unpaid Domestic Labor:

  • Public policies promoting India’s energy transition can incentivize clean technology adoption in households, reducing women’s time spent on housework.
  • Rural women spend roughly 20 hours per week cooking, equivalent to part-time work.
  • Much of this cooking relies on inefficient and polluting fuels (e.g., firewood), requiring significant time for collection and use. This negatively impacts women’s health and productivity.
  • The PMUY program is commendable for facilitating LPG adoption, but regular usage remains low (around 25% of its potential).
  • India can learn from the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act. It offers cash rebates to consumers for clean technology purchases alongside production incentives that create new jobs in the clean energy sector.


 History shows women’s empowerment is linked to education, good jobs, and venturing outside the home. Improving the value of investments in women’s human capital, at a low cost,is our best bet for achieving gender parity and building a developed society.


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