Womenomics: Importance and challenges in Indian Context - Seeker's Thoughts

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Womenomics: Importance and challenges in Indian Context

What is Womenomics? 


Technically Womenomics is a term used in economics lately for the entry of women into the workforce and leadership roles. Throughout history, women have been considered less resourceful and underutilized.  This is even in the case of highly educated women also, they do not much contribute directly to the economics in various countries. So, the term usually intends to change the public attitude, new governmental policies, and economic anxiety.

Kathy- Matsui
Kathy Matsui- the woman who made womenomics poplar. 

 Suggestions : The Place of Women in India

Who introduced the term Womenomics?


Among Leaders, Womenomics was started by the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.  However, originally the term was introduced in a report published by the chief Japan strategist Kathy Matsui and her Team in 1999. The report was published in Goldman Sachs’ Global Investment Research Division titled as ‘ Womenomics: Buy the Female Economy’.


In the article, it was argued that if Japan’s female participation increased, that could boost the country’s real GDP growth to 2.5 percent per annum from 2.2 percent.


The team continued their research for two decades advocating the workforce equality and making policy recommendations to close the gender gap in Japa,


There were further reports published in Goldman Sachs Research – ‘ Womenomics: Japan’s Hidden Asset (2005)’ , womenomics 4.0: Time to Walk the Talk in 2014, and Womenomics 5.0.  


Since it gained the attention of the Japanese government, and in 2012, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe advocated and implemented the term. Due to his policies, female labor participation increased.


Why Womenomics is important?

Usually, the traditional role for men is to earn. He has to go to work and the woman takes care of the home and the family. In societies that follow this system- men get additional anxiety as in today’s world a single person can not earn for the need of many.

Also, women are capable of contributing in society but due to the restriction and usual social norms their education, skill, and economic contribution never get the reward and compensation.

Their lives also go waste around the kitchen only, while they might be useful in finding the cure of cancer at the same time.

Families are important but, the role of women in economics can not be ignored.

The problem faced by women at workplaces

Women face a lot due to gender-specific roles and social norms and above that, if they go to work there are workplace biased they have to face.

For example, women are underpaid and were not assigned full-time job in some countries like Japan.

All over the world, in most the countries, women are not on the board of the companies or in higher positions and leadership roles.


What did Womenomics achieve?

Womenomics- helped women to work more, for example providing the solution to the problems -as women as a mother. How can they take care of the baby as well as their career?

 Womenomics plan also contained reforms like removing tax penalties for working mothers and introducing new baby subsidies to help them return to the workplace as it remarkably brought the economic development upward as well as  helped in addressing issues where the aging population is on rise.

In the latest report – Womenomics 5.0, after 20 of research Kathy Matsui mentioned that women's participation could lead to 15 percent GDP boost in Japan. Since her, the first report Women's Participation surpassed the US  and Europe.

It helped in providing generous parental leave, improved gender transparency, and labor reforms.

Even though the term evolved in Japan, the policies will help the entire world.


Womenomics in India's Context

Mostly Asian countries, South East Asian Countries, and Eastern, and Middle Eastern Countries- have similar gender roles for women. Countries can learn that women's participation in the economy is crucial.

Indian parliament strived to take various steps like passing maternity benefit bill yet Labor Force Participation Rate has been falling. According to the data of the National Sample Survey, the participation rate of women fell by 11 percent from 2005 to 2011. 

Most of the work done by women remains unpaid in the house and in supporting families as women are expected to take care of the families without being paid.

Pay gap is also substantial, and yet women don’t get equal pay for equal work. However, MGNREGA remains the exception to it. Women need to be skilled, the pay parity has to be removed, and women have to be encouraged to join leadership roles like politics. 

The Challenge 

The country has cultural hurdles where roles assigned to women are keeping them away from contributing to society. The LFPR pattern shows U shaped relationship with women. As women get more education, the LFPR initially falls. That means they are restricted at home.  

Women staying at home are often considered to increase a family’s social status, explaining part of a negative association between family income and women’s economic participation. That means the more prosperous the family women have, the lesser opportunity to get the jobs women receive.
The facts are that other, compare to other emerging markets; female labor participation in India has dropped. Many women work in low-productive jobs often without social benefits. Women don’t join jobs because of a lack of suitable jobs and lack of marketable skills.

There is strong evidence according to an OECD paper which quantitatively estimates key determinants of low participation of women in the job market in India. It confirms the strong impact of socioeconomic factors, especially in the south and west India in reducing participation. In East India cultural factors such as religion dominate as happened in Nagaland, where the state government tried to provide 33 percent reservation for women and due to protest the bill could not be passed in the state.  Moreover, stringent labor laws also discourage women's participation.