Government’s initiatives to build an inclusive workspace for women

Women form an integral part of the Indian workforce. According to Census 2011, the total number of female workers in India is 149.8 million, of which 121.8 million are from rural and 28.0 million from urban areas.

Skilled women, independent women:

In order to enhance the employability of female workers and ensure the economic independence of women several initiatives are taken by the government.

Government data suggest that over 80% of Stand-Up India loans till December 2022 were sanctioned to women entrepreneurs. Women-owned business enterprises play a prominent role in society. A woman-entrepreneur not only creates a path for themselves but inspires lot many other women. The Stand up India Scheme was launched in 2016 with the aim to promote entrepreneurship at the grassroots level.

Another significant initiative of the government is the Skill India Mission. Under the Mission, training is provided through a network of women’s Industrial Training institutes, National Vocational Training Institutes and Regional Vocational Training Institutes.

Also, the focus of the National Skill Development Policy since it was first launched in 2009 has been on inclusive skill development. The framework was further modified in 2015 to cater to the objective of increased women’s participation for better economic productivity.

Labour Codes ensuring a dignified workplace for women :

The data on the eShram Portal suggests that out of the total registration of the unorganized workers on a self-declaration basis, 52.84% are women.

A number of protective provisions have been incorporated in the labour laws for equal opportunity for women workers.

The Code on Social Security, 2020 has provisions for enhancement in paid maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. Also, provision for mandatory crèche facility in establishments having 50 or more employees and permitting women workers in the night shifts with adequate safety measures, etc.

The Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions (OSH), 2020 has provisions for the employment of women in aboveground mines including opencast workings has been allowed between 7 pm and 6 am. For below-ground working, between 6 am and 7 pm in technical, supervisory and managerial work where continuous presence may not be required.

The Code on Wages, 2019 has provisions that there shall be no discrimination in an establishment or any unit among employees on the ground of gender. Further, the act says no employer shall discriminate on the ground of sex while recruiting.

Initiatives  taken by the Ministry of Personnel:

On 17th January 2023, Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh briefed about several measures undertaken by the Ministry of Personnel to increase the representation of women. He talked about the efforts mainly with respect to women in Central Government jobs.

Child care has often been considered as a hindrance to women’s success at work. Women are expected to show commitment to their profession at the cost of the time spent nurturing children.

The Union Minister cited the example of Child Care Leave (CCL) and said, “In continuation of the grant of 730 days CCL, some new measures have also been taken.” Under CCL, the DoPT initiated certain amendments as per the recommendation of the 7th Pay Commission. The minimum period for CCL reduced from mandatory 15 days to 5 days and the limit of 22 years in case of a disabled child has been removed.

From 1st July 2022, a Special Allowance of Rs.3000 per month was granted to women employees with disabilities. The Union Minister underlined that with a 50% increase in DA, there will be a 25% increase in the allowance.

Also, keeping the mental health of the women employees into consideration. Another Special Maternity Leave of 60 days in case of death of a child soon after birth/stillbirth was started.

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