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Issues faced by women in India


1. Female LFPR has declined from 42% (in 2005) to 18% (in 2019) [PLFS report 2018-19].

2. Wage gap in India is 34%. It is one of the highest in the world. [ILO’s Global Wage Gap report].

3. Glass ceiling - invisible barrier that prevents women from rising beyond a certain level in hierarchy. Only 3% companies listed on NSE have women CEOs.

4. Women are usually concentrated in part-time work.

5. Occupational segregation – Women are tend to be employed in ‘pink-collar’ jobs such as beauty industry, nursing, social work, teaching, secretarial work, or child care.

6. Unpaid labour - In India, women spend 299 minutes a day on unpaid domestic services while men spend 97 minutes [according to the 2019 NSS report on time use.


1. Low political representation. Only 14% of the members of 17th Lok Sabha are women.

2. Phenomenon of Sarpanchpati - effective political power and decision making is wielded by husbands of elected women representatives.


1. Son preference leading to Low Sex ratio of 940

2. Phenomenon of ‘son metapreference’ leads to ‘unwanted girls’. Economic Survey 2018 estimated number of such girls to be 21 million.

3. “Missing women” are the girls and women who would be alive today if parents were not aborting female foetuses. As per ES 2018, stock of ‘missing women’ is 63 million.

4. Crimes against women increased by 7% during 2018-19 [as per NCRB Crime in India report 2019].

Health & Nutrition

1. high Maternal Mortality ratio (MMR) – 113 per 1 lakh live births [SRS 2016-18].

2. 51% women in reproductive age group (15-49) are anemic.


1. Literacy gap of 18% between men and women. (men – 82%, women – 64%).

2. Digital gender gap – only 29% of internet users in India are females.


1. WEF’s Global Gender Gap report 2020 – India ranked at 112 out of 153 countries.

2. UNFPA’s State of World Population report – 46 million girls in India are either not allowed to be born or die before the age of 5 due to neglect.

Initiatives by the Government of India

1. Swadhar and Short Stay Homes to provide relief and rehabilitation to destitute women and women in distress.

2. Working Women Hostels for ensuring safe accommodation for working women away from their place of residence.

3. Support to Training and Employment Program for Women (STEP) to ensure sustainable employment and income generation for marginalised and asset-less rural and urban poor women across the country.

4. Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) to provide micro-finance services to bring about the socio-economic upliftment of poor women. .

5. National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW) to strengthen the overall processes that promote all-round Development of Women.

6. Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme for Children of Working Mothers (including single mother) to provide day care facilities for running a creche of 25 children in the age group 0-6 years from families having monthly income of less than Rs 12,000.

7. One Stop Centre to provide integrated support and assistance to women affected by violence.

8. Scheme for Universalisation of Women Helpline intended to provide 24 hours immediate and emergency response to women affected by violence. .

9. Sabla Scheme for holistic development of adolescent girls in the age group of 11-18 years.

10. In order to strengthen the process of gender budgeting the Ministry of Women and Child Development has been undertaking various capacity building measures for the officials of the State Governments by organising training programs/workshops regularly.

11. In order to improve employability a separate Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has been created. .

12. Equal Remuneration Act, 1973 provides for payment of equal remuneration to men and women workers for the same work of similar nature without any discrimination. In order to ensure social security to the workers including women in the unorganised sector, the Government has enacted the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act 2008. .

13. The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 regulates employment of women in certain establishments for a certain period (12 weeks) before and after childbirth and provides for maternity and other benefits. .

14. Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY) Scheme is being implemented as Conditional Maternity Benefit for pregnant and lactating women to improve health and nutrition status to better enabling environment by providing cash incentives to pregnant and nursing mothers to partly compensate wage loss both prior to and after delivery.

15. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 has been enacted, which covers all women, irrespective of their age or employment status and protect them against sexual harassment at all workplaces both in public and private sector, whether organised or unorganise.

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