Women at Work

A look inside the world of India's working women

Women at Work India is the fourth fastest-growing economy in the world, yet women’s participation in the Indian workforce has been declining for 12 years. To inspire societal change, new initiatives are being developed.

Though women constitute 50% of India's eligible working population, they represent only 27% of its workforce. Be they located in rural or urban areas, many are low-skilled, marginal labourers. "It's a hand to mouth sort of existence", says Madakini Surie of the ASIA Foundation. It is thought that 80% of Indian workers have no contract, legal protection or rights. In backlash, some have founded Sanghams (women's groups) to mutually support one another, while other associations such as AZAD are driving forward change and challenging gender stereotypes. Their gender class has inspired many: “I was very unaware about the rights that I have as a woman”, reveals attendee Kavita.

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