Skip to main content

Sub-national comparison of legal barriers to women’s right to choose work in India

By IMPRI Team 

Under the series, The State of Gender Equality– #Gender Gaps, Gender Impact Studies Center (GISC), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi organized #WebPolicyTalk on the topic The State of Discrimination: Sub-National Comparison of Legal Barriers to Women’s Right to Choose Work in India with Bhuvana Anand. Ms Bhuvana Anand is the Co-Founder and Director at Trayas. The session was chaired by Prof Vibhuti Patel, a Visiting Professor at IMPRI & Former Professor at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai.
The Discussants of the event were Dr Anisha Sharma, Asst. Professor of Economics, Ashoka University and Dr Yamini Atmavilas, Technical Director (Head, Strategy & Research) at Circle.In and Former India Lead for Gender Equality, India Country Office, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Prof Vibhuti Patel discussed the relevancy and urgency of the discussion of gender issues as most of the discussions only focused on macro realities. She had given a layout to discussions through her precious views. She criticized the poor representation of women in the economy and lower status in society and reiterated that discrimination against women in the workforce is informed by systems and structures of patriarchy and male domination in practice legitimized by the rules both written as well as unwritten rules at the time under the garb of safety or outright denial without any explanation.
Women are not allowed opportunities for skill training and become the first targets of retrenchment when mechanization automation rationalization takes place. Prof Patel believes that the women’s rights movement for over four decades brings out very succinctly how these gender norms perpetuate male domination and female subordination in the economy. With a poem verse, Prof Patel directed the participants to think again about the attitude people keep toward women. Further, she welcomed Ms Bhuvana Ananda to share her views.
Ms Bhuvana had given a brief review on the evolution of the state of discrimination report and then she shared the key findings. The report shows that men’s labour force participation is three times higher than women’s. Women’s participation has declined over time, which means that they aren’t staying in the job course for long periods of time despite the fact that the education levels among women are rising & fertility levels are falling. Ms Anand identified several supply-side factors which are responsible for lower participation rates. It includes marriage, household income as families are perhaps getting more prosperous so they don’t want both partners to earn, childcare responsibilities and the general family that may be more likely for low and declining demand for female workers.
Therefore, the state of the discrimination report had focused on one element of demand-side factors i.e., employer behaviours, employer stereotypes, the costs potentially that are coming up from protective legislation, or lack of awareness about the value edition that women provide. The report has tried to compare 23 states with some parameters. Ms Bhuwana believes that keeping women away from the labour force is practically expensive. The McKinsey report suggests that approximately 700 billion to the economy by 2025 will drastically increase women’s labour force participation and all of this feels like a good set of reasons to focus on this problem. She attempts to describe the measurement approach taken in the report to highlight a few things.
One is to think of states as autonomous actors or as actors who can certainly have a role big role to play in determining the faiths of individuals in this country and the second is to understand the rule of law and regulation in India just to demonstrate how impossibly hard it is and what kind of effort going in and the third is to about how to make something distillable and usable by creating you know some kind of buzz around it or some kind of numbers that are valuable and aspirational for different state actors. She further discussed India’s wide state of discrimination and state performance on four types of legal restrictions on women including working at night, working in jobs deemed hazardous, working in jobs deemed arduous, and working in jobs deemed morally inappropriate. Further, she discussed the laws that treat women as exceptions. She recommended that institutions need to rethink legislation. Prof Vibhuti Patel thanked her for her insightful views. She presented her views on the situation in 1982 when economists interested in women’s issues groups had fought against the language used in the labour department ministry.
Dr Yamini Atmavilas‘s notion is that all of us as feminist economists and social researchers have continuously sort of underscored but it needs to be said again, unfortunately. Norms are not something that is just in the private domain, they’re not just about something that happens within the household and the community, they are in the markets. The laws seem to be positioning women as workers and have certain definitions of them and they seem to constrain and take a protectionist view and be very exclusionary. So, what we end up with is very critical. Changing laws can be an incredible change in norms and society itself. As we sort of start to see changes in legislation then society and norms also change.
Further, Dr Anisha Sharma said that due to various norms driven around, the tendency pushes women to work in a very limited sector which pushes them away to acquire skills in areas where they can get jobs that are relatively more productive and that actually pay more. Hence, there is a need to expose not only women but also their families to job opportunities that open up after learning any skill such as data entry or computers. Such exposure makes the women enthusiastic to acquire skills and learn something. There is a need to invest in skills and diversify the sectors. Laws should be made compatible to meet these needs as well.
Responding to Dr Meenakshi’s question on the lack of awareness of employers due to paternalistic patronization, Dr Yamini said that there is a need to think about where one should intervene so that it will be beneficial for all. If we want to make entrepreneurs part of the change, there is a need to understand the cost of appointing women. State comparisons are also a must to understand the support to women to raise them, a broad framework where all employers must negotiate to work out cost benefits and numbers relevant. Further, the Panel addressed various queries of participants and enriched the event.
---
Acknowledgement: Priya Suman, research intern at IMPRI

Comments

TRENDING

Zakir Naik tumult, Catholic Church power abuse: will Anwar Ibrahim save Malaysia?

Anwar Ibrahim By Jay Ihsan*  Anwar Ibrahim, a hardcore reformist who took a punch to his eye in 1998 from then inspector-general of police, Rahim Noor, has finally been given the mandate by Malaysians to serve as the nation's 10th prime minister. Anwar knows too well the burden of staying true to both trust and faith the people have in him requires every once of commitment and dedication. The question is will he be apologetic for his transgressions enroute to "rebuilding" Malaysia? In his overzealousness to get the job done, Anwar, 75, needs to safeguard every bit of gumption to address prickling issues plaguing the safety of the nation especially those involving communal sensitivities. For one, dare Anwar get rid of terrorist hate preacher and fugitive Zakir Naik for inciting religious unrest in Malaysia? In November 2016, India’s counter-terrorism agency filed an official complaint against Naik, holding him responsible for promoting religious hatred and unlawful activi

Although sporting genius, Wasim Akram was mascot of cricket globalisation era

By Harsh Thakor*  Since Independence India and Pakistan produced a galaxy of cricketing stars that permeated cricketing artistry of legendary heights. Amongst this bunch.Wasim Akram manifested pure cricketing genius to the greatest height.I speculate how India’s fortunes would have changed had partition not taken place and Wasim playing for India. Wasim Akram explored realms untranscended in bowling wizardry, like a painter devising new art forms or a scientist experimenting. He simply re-defined the art of reverse swing, reversing the ball in and out. There were bowlers quicker, more accurate and with better records, but none equalled Wasim in an all-round package. He was more lethal with a new and old ball than any fast bowler ever. Wasim could produce balls that were surreal, with his reverse swing, defying laws of bio mechanics He was simply the epitome of versatility, possessing a repertoire of six different deliveries within an over itself, disguising deliveries in the manner of

Qatar World Cup has a strong Bangladesh connection: stadium construction, t-shirts

By Mashrur Siddique Bhuiyan*  The FIFA World Cup fever has unquestionably cut through the minds of mass people all over the world. Stadiums in Qatar are buzzing with football fans and athletes representing their countries at the “Greatest Show on Earth". The magic of the FIFA World Cup is so enormous that even being unable to participate does not matter much to the fans who support different nations. This is one of the highest viewed events in the world, with the 2018 event viewed by about 3.6 billion people worldwide. But this crowd is not aware of the contribution of migrant workers who helped build the very stadiums where the matches are playing in. Qatar won the bid in 2010 to host the FIFA World Cup 2022, which got the oxymoron of celebration and controversy. This also created the potential for Qatar to Showcase its monumental economic achievements and unique culture on the global stage. The motto for Qatar’s bid team in 2010 was ‘Expect Amazing’ and migrant workers across th

Floods: As ax falls on most vulnerable, Pak seeks debt cancellation, climate justice

By Tanupriya Singh  Even as the floodwaters have receded, the people of Pakistan are still trying to grapple with the death and devastation the floods have left in their wake. The floods that swept across the country between June and September have killed more than 1,700 people, injured more than 12,800, and displaced millions as of November 18. The scale of the destruction in Pakistan was still making itself apparent as the world headed to the United Nations climate conference COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November.  Pakistan was one of two countries invited to co-chair the summit. It also served as chair of the Group of 77 (G77) and China for 2022, playing a critical role in ensuring that the establishment of a loss and damage fund was finally on the summit’s agenda, after decades of resistance by the Global North. “The dystopia has already come to our doorstep,” Pakistan’s Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman told Reuters. By the first week of September, pleas for h

Implementing misleading govt order to pollute Hyderabad's 100 year old reservoirs

Senior activists* represent to the Telangana Governor on GO Ms 69 dated 12.4.2022 issued by the Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MA&UD), Government of Telangana: ‘...restrictions imposed under para 3 of said GO Ms 111 dated 8.3.1996 are removed...’: *** Ref: GO Ms 111 dated 8.3.1996: ‘To prohibit polluting industries, major hotels, residential colonies or other establishments that generate pollution in the catchment of the lakes upto 10kms from full tank level as per list in Annexure-I...’ We come to your office with grievance that GO Ms 69 dated 12.4.2022 issued by Government of Telangana not only contains false information issued ‘By Order and in the name of the Governor of Telangana’ , without any scientific or expert reports, but also that implementation of the said GO is detrimental and can be catastrophic to the Hyderabad city as two 100 year old reservoirs Osman Sagar and Himayath Sagar were constructed as dams on river Moosa and river Esa, with the first and

Why foreign diplomats must maintain diplomatic etiquette, protocol in Bangladesh

By Kamal Uddin Mazumder*  Foreign governments and organizations are not allowed to dictate how a sovereign country like Bangladesh should run its politics. The 12th national parliamentary elections are drawing near, and the election wind has started to blow in Dhaka. The political parties have already begun to plan their voting strategy through a variety of events. However, this time, the diplomatic community in Dhaka is very active. A number of Western ambassadors frequently meet with government departments, political party representatives, the Election Commission (EC), and members of civil society in Dhaka. At numerous forums, they discuss upcoming elections' management, fairness, and impartiality -- issues that are unquestionably domestic to Bangladesh and in no way fall under the purview of diplomacy. Additionally, it has been noted that diplomats have made public remarks on these subjects in front of the media. It raises the question of how much authority diplomatic protocol h

Bangladesh's ties with Myanmar, Nepal, China need connectivity with India's NE states

By Samara Ashrat*  On 26th November, India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that India is trying to improve trade and connectivity with Bangladesh and Myanmar on his two-day visit to India's Northeast region. He emphasized the importance of linking Northeastern India to the rest of the nation and reiterated Delhi is working to improve connectivity and infrastructure in the region. By taking the G20 presidency India will try to showcase the true spirit of the Northeast to the world, with its tourism benefits. But, the umbilical cord between the Indian mainland and North Eastern Region is Chicken's Neck or Siliguri corridor which brings Bangladesh into the Indian equation of northeastern development. Not only that, Bangladesh has very close relations with West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, and Tripura in terms of language, culture, and history. These factors make Bangladesh an inextricable element of the development of the northeastern states. Tourism Sector and Con

A classic, 'Gandhi' ignores merciless cruelty unleashed on militant freedom fighters

By Harsh Thakor  The movie ‘Gandhi’ produced by Richard Attenborough, which was released 40 years ago on November 30th, 1982, was classic in it's own right. Ironical that it took an Englishman to embark upon the making of a film on this legendary figure. I can't visualize a better pictorial portrayal of Gandhi's life or an actor getting in the skin of the character an exuding the mannerisms as actor Ben Kingsley. Episodes are crafted and grafted surgically, illustrating how Gandhi wove fragmented bits into a cohesive force, to confront he British empire. Most boldly the movie unfolds how British colonialism subjugated the Indian people to barbaric cruelty. With great mastery the cinematography captures the vast Indian landscapes and essence of livelihood of Indians under colonial rule. The movie most illustratively shows the crystallisation of anti-colonial fervour from the embryonic stage and how it fermented into an integrated movement. In a most subtle manner it illustr

25 years of CHT peace accord: A glorious chapter of conflict resolution in Bangladesh

By Kamal Uddin Mazumder*  Conflicts between the Bangladesh army and Shanti Bahini persisted in the Chittagong Hill Tracts for more than two decades. On December 2, 1997, Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) and the Bangladeshi government signed the CHT Accord, putting an end to the violent armed conflict and improving the life of a lot of the people there. It has been made possible through just seven meetings under the worthy leadership of Sheikh Hasina. The historic peace agreement created an atmosphere of peace in the mountainous region. An atmosphere of peace has been established by ending the armed conflict. The geographical features and ethnic diversity of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) are distinctive. The 13,184 square kilometer territory is bordered by Myanmar and the Indian state of Mizoram on the East and Tripura on the North. With its 1.6 million people, it entails great importance to Bangladesh for its geopolitical location. Due to the conflict-prone Northeast Indi

Galileo-Catholic church affair: must history repeat at Malaysia’s St Francis Xavier church?

By Jay Ihsan*  Christianity is the enemy of liberation and civilization -August Bebel Christianity taught men that love is worth more than intelligence -Jacques Maritain Real Christianity can be summed up in two commands: Love God and love people. - Joyce Meyer Pious XI was too neutral to mention the gas chambers; decent people like my own family were turned into devils by crude Christianity - Lionel Blue Religious doctrines cannot escape the liberty of thoughts and expression. To each their own, so it is said. From all things nice to all things that make one cringe - religion is polarised and in this regard, Christianity has over time faced the wrath of bigotry espoused by those "bequeathed" to protect it. Take Pope Francis for example. He had a secret meeting with giant pharma Pfizer chief executive officer Albert Bourla last year while the world struggled to make sense of the word "lockdown" and suffer adverse effects of the Corona virus vaccines produced by Pfiz