Women’s Labour Workforce In India


This research paper analyses Indian Women’s participation in the workforce, their protection from various kinds of discrimination, the problems they face at work, and the reasons for their low participation rate. India currently stands at 140th position among the 156 countries in the FLFP (Female Labour Force Participation), according to the World Economic Forum, 2021. Their participation rates differ in different sectors and rural and urban areas. To bring more women into the labour force, several measures have been taken by the government, which also works for the empowerment, security, and development of women. Indian women are majorly involved in household chores, especially in rural areas where the women’s labour force rate is also lower. The working age is measured as that between 15 and older, and as per the Annual Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) Reports, the estimated Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) for years 2022–23 was 37%, slightly more than the last year. Analysing the PLFS data, about 78% of Indian women are majorly involved in the agricultural sector. The data suggests that, even though a major population of working women is still involved in agricultural activities, there are now more opportunities available for them in other sectors too. The increase in education, and decrease in fertility rates with better healthcare services have ensured more women’s participation in labour. This paper revolves around the rates of FLFP (Female Labour Force Participation)  in some recent years in rural and urban areas, along with their comparisons with those of other countries. The research has also found some reasons for the higher participation rate of women in other countries, and finally, it mentions the schemes, programs, and codes that the government of India has implied for boosting the FLFP (Female Labour Force Participation).


Women’s labour force participation in India has been through a lot of changes and is currently a vast concern that is affecting our nation’s socio-economic development. The labour force participation is mainly driven by the market value of their market wages versus the value of their non-market time. Their market wages contribute to a huge share in the growth of our economy. Women’s labour force participation comprises women aged 15 and older who supply labour for the production of goods and services during a specified period. According to the International Labour Organisation’s modelled estimates, 24% of Indian women were part of the labour force market in 2022. 

Female empowerment in our country has a very solid relation with them being employed, as it leads to their empowerment, promotes equality and boosts the utilisation of human potential. The fostering of economic growth and reducing poverty has encouraged them to take up employment in sectors other than agriculture. Among the states, the data has found that Himachal Pradesh has the highest proportion of women in the labour force constituting 49% of the workforce, during 2021-23, in the age group 15-59. This is significantly higher than the national rate of 32%. In contrast, Haryana and Punjab had the lowest rate of female labour participation constituting only 21% and 26% of the workforce, respectively. 

Economically independent women contribute to the welfare of our country and most importantly in the well-being of their family which provides them with an immense power to have control over their lives. They feel more confident and financially stable which puts them in a condition to stand for their rights. The working status upgrades their socio-economic condition, standard of living, and health conditions. Women’s participation in labour has been in a major light all over the world and many countries have even achieved an immense increase in their labour force. In the early years after Independence, the proportion of women was mostly captured by the agriculture sector but in the recent decades, their labour force has spread in all the three sectors of the society. The significant focus of this year’s budget on Nari Shakti or women empowerment through entrepreneurship, ease of living, dignity for them, and the increase in FLFP have been the reason for this topic being discussed recently. 

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Author: Deeksha Sharma