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Gender and Economic Policy Discussion Forum: The Politics and Economics of FDI through a Gender Lens. FDI and Women Employment in India. by ARPITA Mukherjee Deboshree ghosh. Organized by: Institute of Social Studies Trust (ISST) in association with the Heinrich Boell Foundation (HBF)

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fdi and women employment in india
Gender and Economic PolicyDiscussion Forum:

The Politics and Economics of FDI through a Gender Lens

FDI and Women Employment in India


ARPITA Mukherjee

Deboshree ghosh

Organized by: Institute of Social Studies Trust (ISST) in association with the Heinrich Boell Foundation (HBF)

New Delhi, April 9, 2013

table of contents
Table of Contents
  • Status of employment with focus on women employment
  • FDI and its linkages to women employment
  • Some examples of sectors with women employment
  • Challenges and Opportunities
women employment global overview
Women Employment: Global Overview
  • Women constitute 40% of the global labour force, account for 58% of all unpaid work, 44% of wage employment and 50.5% of informal employment against 48.2% for men
  • Women dominate the service sector (47% of all employed women against 41% of men’s employment); are more likely than men to work in agriculture (38% of all employed women against 33% of all employed men); and much less represented in industry (16 % against 26% of all employed men)
  • In 2010 the female youth unemployment rate stood at 13.1% compared to 12.6% for males
  • The estimated number of workers in vulnerable employment in 2009 is 1.53 billion, and in most regions the vulnerable employment rate among women exceeds that of men
  • In two-thirds of emerging and developing countries where data is available, the share of informal employment stands at more than 40%
  • ILO evidence from 83 developed and developing countries shows that women earn between 10% and 30% less than men
  • In 2010, women accounted for just below 12% of board members in the largest publicly listed companies in the European Union, and for just over 3% of board chairs

Source : ILO, 2012

employment in india
Employment in India

Total employment and share of women employment (2009-10)- %

  • National Sample Survey (NSS) data shows addition of merely 2.76 million work opportunities during the period of fastest growth for the economy (2004-05-2009-10)
  • Compared to this, there was an addition of 60 million to the workforce during 1999-2000 and 2004-05
  • Women employment decreased considerably from 2.8 % to 2.2 % and is currently 128 million out of 460 million of total labour force.
  • It is interesting to analyse the impact of FDI on women employment as no other empirical study has been done in this regard. Therefore the question arise :-
      • With FDI in the country, what is the future of women employment in India?
      • Are women better off in states with more FDI investment?

No Official Data

NSSO, 2009-10

Where women are employed ?

Majority in agriculture

Financial intermediation and construction sector also employ a sizable number of women

Lowest share in fishing, mining and transport

Only 3.5 % are employed in retail and wholesale

FDI Restrictions?

Source : NSSO, 2009-2010

What women are employed as?

Majority as skilled agriculture and fishery workers.

Very low percentage of service and sales workers

Employment in elementary occupations such as mining, construction and basic manufacturing is high

Source : NSSO, 2009-2010

understanding the fdi dynamics and its link to women employment
Understanding the FDI dynamics and its link to women employment

Sector wise FDI


Link between fdi and employment

sector wise fdi in india
Sector wise FDI in India

Source : DIPP, 2012

urban women employment 2009 10 in states with high fdi inflows
Urban Women Employment(2009-10) in States with High FDI Inflows (%)

Many other factors (culture, education, government policy, etc.) determine women employment other than FDI

Sectors that attract women employment

Source : NSSO, 2009-2010

direct selling a new retail format
Direct Selling: A New Retail Format
  • Size : The size of direct selling industry in India is abour 901 USD million (2010) which is higher than countries like Singapore and Indonesia and is ranked 11th world wide
  • Women:The share of women in this sector is more than 50 % (IDSA, 2011)
  • Benefits:
  • According to a survey by ICRIER, about 68 % women feel it builds self esteem, 69 report financial independence and higher earnings, flexible timings and improved and ability to take care of families. (ICRIER research, 2011)
  • Initiatives by various companies : Tupperware is leveraging a growing female sales force of 2.6 million women in regions like China, India, Indonesia, the CIS, Latin America and South Africa.- 99% sales person are women over all the world

Treated as wholesale trade for FDI inflows- No FDI restrictions

it services
IT Services
  • Size : The Indian IT-BPO industry has emerged as the largest private sector employer in the country with direct employment of about 2.23 million professionals. The sector employ 30-35% women (NASSCOM , 2012)
  • Factors : The important factors that encourage women workforce to participate in IT sector is
    • comparatively high salary,
    • easy international mobility,
    • gender-neutral policy based on knowledge-centric skills possession,
    • flexible work routine and physically less demanding work process in comfortable indoor work- environment (Kumar 2001; Upadhya 2006; Shanker 2008).
  • Representation : Senior management have only 5 % representation.
  • Initiatives: like Shakti (a women well being initiative) by a BPO called Ajuba, has made it more lucrative for women to work in this sector

Open to foreign investment with limited regulations and high incentives to FDI

opportunities and challenges
Opportunities and challenges

Why international companies employ women?

Problems employing women in India

  • Huge Untapped Women Workers : India is at par, if opportunities availed, with her immediate competitors for the use of women workforce as most Asian countries, including China, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea and Taiwan, have huge women labour force
  • More Productive :Employers perceive women as more “productive” in the types of jobs available in the export sector
    • They are obedient and
    • less prone to worker unrest
    • suited to tedious work
    • reliability and trainability relative to men
  • Indian Labour Laws : In 2007, the factory act 1948 section 66 was amended, allowing women to work between 10 pm and 6 am, is benefiting those working in Special Economic Zones (SEZs), textiles, garments, handicrafts, leather and IT sector.
  • Skills : As Indian women do complete minimum education and even if they get educated their access to English language remains very limited hence it MNCs find it difficult to employ women
  • Security : The crime rate in India is high owing to which extra money is spend on ensuring security by providing cabs and security for women working late at night
  • Conservative Mindset : Women in India don’t work majorly due to this mindset of their families
  • Working Hours : Women in India are homemakers even if they are working hence this requires them to have flexible working hours to manage their homes and office responsibilities
  • Labour Regulations: Centre versus states, variation across states
thank you

For details contact:

Dr Arpita Mukherjee


Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER)

Core 6A, 4th Floor, India Habitat Centre

Lodi Road, New Delhi -110 003

Phone : 91 11 243112400 (Extension: 430), 43112430 (Direct)

Fax : 91 11 2462 0180

[email protected]