India’s Women Can Boost India’s Economic Growth
By admin November 24, 2015
















India could potentially boost its gross domestic product by $700 billion by 2025 if women participated in paid work at a similar level to men, according to a research report released by the McKinsey Global Institute. India is not growing at its full potential, as women are currently only responsible for 17 percent of gross domestic product, which is much lower than the global average of 37 percent. In comparison, China’s women are responsible for 41 percent of gross domestic product, 39 percent of sub-Sharan Africa’s gross domestic product, and 33 percent of Latin America’s.

India is the world’s largest democracy and third largest economy in Asia. India has also emerged as an important regional power and is considered as a rising economic powerhouse by economists and investors. Despite these recent advancements, however, India still has huge social and economic problems that need to be addressed. For example, India ranks 139 out of 145 countries on the World Economic Forum’s Economic Participation and Opportunity Index. Moreover, The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report also scored India at 0.383 on economic equality, where 0 stands for inequality and 1 represents perfect equality.

Women only represent about 24 percent of the Indian workforce whereas the global workforce is made up of about 40 percent women. The McKinsey report notes that this low participation of women in the workforce is significantly hurting the economy as there is a large percentage of women that are left out of the formal workforce, rendering them unable to fully contribute to the economy. According to the McKinsey report, Indian women conduct almost 10 times as much unpaid work as men, a much higher ratio than the global average where women spend roughly three times the amount of time spent by men on unpaid work.

The McKinsey report calculated that if unpaid work were to be valued and compensated in the same way as paid work, women’s work would contribute $300 billion a year to India’s economic output. Unfortunately, the pay gap between men and women in India makes it difficult to realize this growth potential. According to the World Economic Forum, an Indian female worker makes an average annual income of $2,257 in comparison to an Indian male’s average annual income of $9,175, one-fourth less than her male counterpart. Making matters worse, the 2015 Gender Gap Report by the World Economic Forum released last week makes note that the overall gender equality gap has only closed slightly in the past 10 years. According to the report, at this rate, it would take 118 years before women earn equal pay to men.

A recent article released by the Business Standard claims that the world’s productivity can be boosted the most if women participated in the market economy on equal terms with men. This would erase the current gaps in labor participation rates, hours worked, and representation within each sector. According to the McKinsey study, on a global scale, if women were to work shoulder to shoulder with men, the world’s gross domestic product would grow by 26 percent, equal to the combined gross domestic product of the two largest economies, the US and China.

Although there is a huge potential for the global economy to benefit from women’s participation in the paid workforce, India’s women still contribute the lowest in economic growth among all regions studied in the world. That being said, India must step up gender diversity efforts in the private sector, push for equality in the work force, legal provisions for women, enforce gender rights laws, and improve services to address the burden of unpaid work, focus on dispelling deep-rooted patriarchal attitudes, and raise India’s overall economic output.


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