Sattva Consulting
Equal Economy: Women’s Participation in the Workforce
Equal Economy: Women’s Participation in the Workforce
June 21, 2019

The Problem of Low Female Labour and Work Force Participation


India’s Female Labour Force Participation Rate (FLPR) stands at 17.5% as per the latest estimates. In the global context of women’s employment, India is among the worst performers, bettering only countries like the Arab nations.

Not only are we failing to bring more women into the folds of gainful and meaningful employment, we have also been unsuccessful in arresting the untimely drop out of working women from the labour force.

What is stopping Indian women from being part of the paid workforce?

Primary Responsibility of Care
Women bear the burden of familial care, often having to give up promising careers to shoulder domestic responsibilities

Entrenched Gender Norms
Gender norms in India do not recognise women as active economic agents. India exhibits a well-documented pattern of women’s participation in the workforce during times of financial distress, only to withdraw under prosperous circumstances.

Lack of Support Systems
India’s public infrastructure needs to evolve a gender-consciousness. Women are hindered by issues like lack of mobility, absence of career counselling, migration support among others.

Lack of Quality Jobs
The economic growth of the country has not translated into quality jobs. The informal sector represents 81.6% of the employment for women but is characterized by poor and unsafe working conditions.

Lack of Role Models
The potential of role models and peers to motivate women to join the workforce are well-known. However, unless such role models are identified, and their stories channelized effectively, and transformed more concretely into opportunities of learning, counsel and mentorship, it is a lost opportunity.

About Equal Economy

EqualEconomy is a multi-stakeholder platform which design and execute contextual, scalable and sustainable solutions towards increasing workforce participation of women. All solutions are driven by data, with a focus on adoption and sustainability.

We recognise the need for solutions that are systemic and comprehensive, and rooted in the knowledge that women’s inability to participate in the workforce is an interplay of several contributing factors.

What we do

Underpinning our solutions are the key levers that enable systemic change:

  • – Building Gender sensitive workplaces and Understanding and exploring untapped segments of potential employment and growth for women – the MSMEs, customer experience roles, flexi-work, technology jobs.
  • – Ecosystem-level support interventions, such as, affordable and safe transportation, childcare services, counselling etc.
  • – Households that encourage and support women’s aspirations.
  • – Understanding and exploring untapped segments of potential employment and growth for women – the MSMEs, customer experience roles, flexi-work, technology jobs.

Training and On-The-Job Interventions

An employer-led, experiential, skilling program that enables young women to enter customer experience roles through a systemic intervention that involves skilling for employability, counselling and mentorship support and On-the-Job training.

Counselling and Awareness Building

Solution to foster agency and awareness among college students and build resilience and aspiration amongst women in the world of work.

Advocacy Initiatives

Action-oriented research undertaken to inform policy and civil society initiatives. Read our report: Work and Labour Force Participation in India – A Meta-Study – A 360-degree study that takes stock of academic, policy and civil society discourses on the reasons for low female workforce participation in India.

We are also working on several other solutions including, role-modelling and mentorship solutions, employer interventions for gender diversity, childcare, among others, for different profiles of women.
Sattva_EqualEconomy_Gender Engagements

Talk to us today to find out how you can partner with us or get involved:


Thank you for your interest in Sattva.