Gender parity

India needs more women in the formal workforce—not just for the economic benefits but also for financial independence


Economists usually do not pay much attention to gender. A new official White House report shows that men have been dropping out of the US labour force at an alarming rate. This is particularly true of those with few skills. The most likely reason is vanishing factory jobs. It’s quite likely that the change in gender composition of the US labour force will eventually alter the balance of power between men and women there.

India has the opposite problem. Too few women are part of the formal labour force. Millions of Indian women have actually exited the Indian labour force since the turn of the century. The most likely reason in this case is that higher family incomes are pushing women back into their homes. The one big exception to this rule could be agriculture. It has seen a gradual process of feminization.

India needs more women in the formal workforce—not just for the economic benefits but also for financial independence.