Gender inequality continues to be a major challenge across the globe, despite global advancements in certain development parameters, such as education and income. According to the World Bank estimates while women constituted 49.58 percent of the population, they account for only 38.78 percent of the global labour force in 2019. In many developing countries, labour force participation rates among women have hardly increased over the past two decades (United Nations (UN), 2019). In India, for example, female workforce participation continues to be amongst the lowest in the world and has declined from 26.4 percent in 2005 to 19.9 percent in 2020.2 These inequalities have exacerbated in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic; studies indicate that women’s jobs are 1.8 times more vulnerable due to this crisis than men’s jobs with women disproportionately carrying the burden of unpaid care.
This CII - UNDP report assess the current status of women in India in both traditional sectors within manufacturing, which have employed women for a long time, and non-traditional sectors, where focus on women employment is now growing. Focusing on six key sectors within manufacturing (see Figure 1.1), the report identifies the challenges and gaps, examine best practices for an inclusive and diverse work force, and presents an Action Plan 2025 as a way forward to improve women participation in the manufacturing sector.