UNICEF-supported survey reveals obstacles that reduce women in workforce

The survey targeted youth aged 18 to 29 years through social media channels and was administered via U-Report, UNICEF’s digital community for young people

Updated - February 21, 2024 07:21 am IST

Published - February 21, 2024 03:24 am IST - New Delhi

The study covered questions affecting young women’s participation in the workforce. File

The study covered questions affecting young women’s participation in the workforce. File | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

‘Factors influencing young women’s participation in labour force and non-traditional jobs’, a survey conducted by UNICEF’s public-private youth platform YuWaah and U-Report, has revealed that that 55% of women prefer to work from home so that they can manage the house chores too. The survey, released here on Tuesday, also said that while 75% of young women and men believe that finding a job is the most important next step for the women post their studies, less than a fifth believe that women should get married immediately after completing their academics. Almost 52% of the respondents believe that access to information and opportunities or support from families are key factors that influence young women’s decision to develop job-ready skills and join the workforce.

The survey targeted youth aged 18 to 29 years through social media channels and was administered via U-Report, UNICEF’s digital community for young people. The study covered questions affecting young women’s participation in the workforce including factors affecting their decision to work such as post marriage and childbirth, preference of traditional/non-traditional job roles, work from home etc.

A release based on the preliminary findings of the survey said it also aimed to uncover deep-seated societal attitudes, identify barriers, gain insights, and understand the youth’s perspective about young women’s labour force participation. “It seeks to inform the stakeholders to undertake targeted interventions for increasing women’s participation, by fostering collaboration between government and private partners,” the release said.

The survey said 56% of the respondents believed that parents/family or partners are important actors in choosing aspirations and career options.

“42% male and 47% female respondents believe that parents and family members of young women make decisions with regard to their dreams and aspirations. 33% male and 37% female respondents believe that young women themselves make the decision for their dreams and aspirations,” the survey report said.

26% of the respondents, who participated in the survey, believed that women might face pressure to get married post studies. “24% male and 32% female respondents believe that young women may be pressurised to get married. A higher percentage of male respondents [21%] compared to female respondents [12%] believe that young women can get employment opportunities after marriage,” it said.

Access to information and opportunities or support from family are perceived as drivers by 52% of the respondents. Approximately 30% male and female respondents from all States believed that encouragement and support from family and community influence young women’s decision to work. “Little or no variation is observed between male and female respondents when disaggregated by geographical areas. On an average, 22% male and 24% female respondents across all geographical areas believe that access to information and schemes influences young women decision to work,” the survey said.

43% of respondents believe that women might enter workforce post childbirth if workplaces have supportive and flexible policies or child-friendly facilities. 17% of the respondents said that childcare facilities at workplace will encourage more women to re-enter workforce after childbirth. “More respondents in the village area believe that young women’s preference to stay at home to take care of the child affects her ability to work after child-birth, whereas in the cities and between cities and villages believe that policies and support from employers affect a women’s ability to work after child birth. 49% of the respondents believe that young women prefer flexible workplaces,” the survey said.

“Now is the time to support hardworking, motivated, talented and honest women workforce that makes 50% of our population. We must join hands and work together. Time has come to cooperate and work with them. We must increase women workforce participation across all levels as we move towards becoming top three economies of the world by 2047,” said Union Labour Secretary Arti Ahuja releasing the survey.

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