Call for overhauling care economy to generate women employment

Elevating direct public investments equivalent to 2% of the GDP can bridge not only the gender gaps in women’s labour force participation but also unlock a new economic segment for emerging economies, creating increased economic output and jobs in the care work services sector, the FLO report said.

Naman Suri
First Published27 Mar 2024, 03:45 PM IST
This care sector is anticipated to create over 11 million jobs by 2030, with 70% earmarked for women, thereby unlocking a significant economic segment, advocates FICCI Ladies Organization (FLO) in a report.
This care sector is anticipated to create over 11 million jobs by 2030, with 70% earmarked for women, thereby unlocking a significant economic segment, advocates FICCI Ladies Organization (FLO) in a report.

Comprehensive reforms, including increased public and private sector investments through centrally sponsored schemes, are essential to bolster India’s care economy. This sector is anticipated to create over 11 million jobs by 2030, with 70% earmarked for women, thereby unlocking a significant economic segment, advocates FICCI Ladies Organization (FLO) in a report.

“The undervaluation and invisibility of care work, predominantly performed by women, has resulted in a market failure, where skilled and talented women are unable to realise their economic potential, leading to a misallocation of resources at the macroeconomic level,” said Sudha Shivkumar, president of FLO. FLO is the women wing of the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FICCI).

The care economy refers to the paid and unpaid care work through which care is provided for others and is a crucial component of the welfare state. It includes activities aimed at improving the physical, social, mental, and emotional well-being of care-dependent groups, such as children, the elderly, the sick, disabled individuals, adolescents, and others. Presently, India's public spending on the care economy is less than 1% of GDP, relatively low in comparison with other nations.

Elevating direct public investments equivalent to 2% of the GDP can bridge not only the gender gaps in women’s labour force participation but also unlock a new economic segment for emerging economies, creating increased economic output and jobs in the care work services sector, the FLO report said.

“Evidence from the International Labour Organisation suggests that increasing investments in the care services sector have the potential to generate 475 million jobs globally by 2030. For India specifically, direct public investment equivalent to 2% of GDP can potentially generate 11 million jobs, nearly 70% of which will go to women,” the report said.

The women’s apex industry body in collaboration with Nikore Associates (a youth-led think tank), had earlier held four roundtables on the care economy in Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Mumbai.

According to the roadmaps in the paper on the care economy, the organization has emphasized the need for reworking leave policies, subsidising care services with investment in care infrastructure, and upskilling the care workers while building institutional mechanisms to assure quality.

The report further suggests that based on the advisory, the ministry of labour and employment can introduce regulations encompassing financial support to MSMEs and startups for maternity leave, revising parental leave policies and framework for care work leave and flexible work options, all of which can include introducing market-based financing for leave like parental leave insurance.

The report was released on the occasion of the completion of four decades of FLO.

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First Published:27 Mar 2024, 03:45 PM IST
HomeEconomyCall for overhauling care economy to generate women employment

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