Women's workforce participation measure to get revamp?

Labour survey may be revamped to measure participation of women better: Report

A 28-member standing committee is inisting a revamp of the questionnaire used for the Periodic Labour Force Survey

Representative image. Credit: iStock Photo

India could soon revamp the way it measures women participation in the overall workforce to commensurate with international standards and fully capture their contribution.

A 28-member standing committee on economic statistics, constituted by the ministry of statistics and programme implementation (Mospi) in January 2020, is insisting on a revamp of the questionnaire used for the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), said a report by the Economic Times.

"There is a view that the PLFS has certain measurement issues with female participation rate. This can be addressed by tweaking the questionnaire to make it more comprehensive and focussing on a reduced recall period of one week instead of a year," said one of the committee members, to ET.

Also read: India's working women still contend with strongest gender bias across Asia Pacific countries: Report

The existing set of questions on workforce participation are not comparable with international standards, said the report.

The changes proposed by the committee, if accepted by the government, could only be taken into consideration for computing data for the financial year 2022-23 as the new questionnaire will have to undergo pilot tests before it replaces the existing one.

Female labour-force participation in India has declined from 34 per cent in 2006 to 24.8 per cent in 2020, according to a new study quoted in a report by the Business Standard.

According to the UNGC (United Nations Global Compact) India study, India is the only country among the 153 surveyed countries where the economic gender gap is larger than the political gap.

"Gender stereotypes and lack of infrastructure have traditionally sidelined women from core manufacturing functions. As a result, not many are able to reach leadership roles," said the UNGC study.

The study found that raising women's participation in the labour force to the same level as men can boost India's GDP by 27 per cent.

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