Skip to main content

Why do Indian offices have so few women

India can add $1 trillion to its GDP by bringing down the gender disparity to less than 27 per cent from the current 37 per cent. By: Saurabh Goenka, Creatives credit: Ishu Vaid.

Female workforce participation in India and World

Female workforce participation in India is among the lowest in the world with most of its neighbouring countries, except Pakistan, performing better than India. A fact more depressing is that the participation of women in the workforce has been on a constant decline from 37 per cent in 2005 to 27 per cent in 2016. Even when compared to the world average of 50 per cent, India is far behind with only 27 per cent of its women in the workforce.

Where are the women employed?

The maximum proportion of women in India is employed in the Education sector which caters to 44 per cent of women workforce. 32 per cent of the women workforce is in the manufacturing sector. This sector also accounts for 56 per cent of the male workforce in India. Construction and transport sectors are the least represented sectors when it comes to women workforce.

IT/BPM industry

The IT/BPO industry provides employment to around 3.7 million people in India. Out of this 3.7 million, only 35 per cent i.e. 1.3 million are females. 90 per cent of these female employees, however, are at entry/mid-level while around 9 per cent are at senior management positions. Only around 1 per cent of these females are at Top Management positions.

Best and worst states in India in terms of gender equality

Female Empowerment Index (Femdex), which gives a score of 1 to 10 to states for achieving levels of gender parity, gave Bihar 0.42 points in 2016. This is the least among all Indian states. At 0.7, Mizoram scored the maximum among all Indian states followed by Meghalaya, Kerala, Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh. Delhi and Maharashtra remained at 0.56 and 0.59 respectively.

Hiring plans of employers in India - 2017

As per the latest survey, around 70 per cent of employers in India are willing to hire females, with 60 per cent of them willing to offer core profiles. 60 per cent of the employers, who are willing to hire females, are looking to offer mid-level roles to them. However, 30 per cent of the employers, who are not willing to hire females, raise a serious question on gender parity in India's workforce.

Discrimination in compensation

When the salary of female employees is compared with males in similar profiles, they are paid around 25 per cent less than their male counterparts. The gap is, however, reduced to 20 per cent in case of jobs that fall within the "supervisory" category. This is an improvement since 2015 when the gap in compensation was 28 per cent. Education and research are the only sectors where women earned more than men in 2016 with an average hourly salary of Rs. 204.50

Economic benefits of diversity

As per International Labour Organisation, fixing the gap in gender parity will give a great push to Indian Economy. If the current gender gap comes down to 27 per cent or less, $ 1 trillion can be added to India's GDP. The current GDP of India is at around $ 2.3 trillion. Moreover, as per McKinsey, by advancing women's equality, $ 12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025

Most powerful Indian women in the World

Even when the picture of gender parity in India's workforce is in a dismal state, women like these are showing a ray of hope. Indra Nooyi, who is one of the top women CEOs in the world earns around Rs. 190 crores per year. Chanda Kochhar received around Rs. 8 crores as compensation last year. Moreover, around 8.05 million businesses in India, which is 14 per cent of the total, are managed by women. These businesses provide employment to 13.48 million people.