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India’s Economic Growth Hindered by Lack of Jobs for Women

New Delhi (CNN) – India, known as the world’s fastest-growing major economy, is facing a significant challenge in its quest for economic growth. Despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious goal of turning the country into a $5 trillion economy by the end of the decade, the lack of jobs for millions of women is hindering progress.

With over 460 million women of working age in India, the country is home to a vast pool of educated and aspirational individuals. However, cultural norms and societal expectations often prevent women from entering the workforce and pursuing their career aspirations.

One such example is Gunasri Tamilselvan, a 22-year-old engineering graduate who works at a Finnish electronics manufacturer in Tamil Nadu. Despite her passion for her job, Tamilselvan faces pressure from her family to get married and leave her job. This scenario is not uncommon in South Asia, where parents often arrange marriages for their children.

The World Bank reports that only about one-third of India’s working-age women are active in the labor force, significantly lower than the global average. This underrepresentation of women in the workforce is not only a social issue but also an economic one, as India could boost its economic growth by up to 9% per year if more women were employed.

While the Modi government has introduced policies to encourage women to join the workforce, challenges such as cultural norms, office harassment, and domestic responsibilities continue to deter women from pursuing careers. However, there is hope for change as international companies, including major Apple suppliers like Foxconn, are expanding their operations in India and hiring more women.

Efforts are also being made in states like Tamil Nadu to provide safe and supportive environments for women workers, including affordable housing and transportation. By addressing these barriers and creating more opportunities for women in the workforce, India can unlock its full economic potential and propel itself towards becoming a global economic superpower.


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