If Women Can Control Their Earnings, They Will Join the Workforce

More Indian women were working in 1990 than now in 2020 and in spite there being quite a robust economic growth since the ’90s (barring the current pandemic crisis), Indian women are being counted among the least employed women in the world, studies say. In 2015, only 28 percent of women worked than 37 percent in 1990 and one of the reasons is that women can’t control their earnings and therefore are put off from working. However, if women had more access to their earnings through a bank account rather than just cash, they are more likely to work and hold on to their job and although a study by Yale revealed this to be true for rural women, this is also true for women across the country.

Women who received digital wage deposits were found to be working more

A majority of Indian women even today don’t have their own bank account and hence, if they are working the money goes to a joint account which is usually owned by a man in the family, like their father, husband or son and this means that they cannot control their own money. ‘Women who received digital wage deposits, as well as the training to use their bank accounts, were found to be working more, as we said earlier, in both jobs generated by MGNREGS and the private sector. This increase occurred even though the market wage remained static. 

The government needs to promote financial independence among women

The study was conducted in collaboration with the Madhya Pradesh state government and the rural development ministry in “socially conservative” areas in the northern pockets of the state–Gwalior, Morena, Sheopur, and Shivpur. While economic growth issues have been all the rage in the country, it is vital that the government uses policies to ensure that women are being made financially independent because therein lies the key to lowering the barriers of female employment.

“There are signs of women’s increased decision-making and financial independence, but that does not necessarily come at a cost to men”

Charity Troyer Moore, the co-author of the study and director for South Asia Economics Research at The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University, said that it is important to work with women in both rural and urban areas to teach them about using bank accounts so that they can receive their salaries as mandated. Through this, there will definitely be improvements to women owning their own money, being financially independent, and women’s working paid jobs. The economic gender gap is extremely wide in India and since the year 2006, this gap has only grown wider; “Among the 153 countries studied, India is the only country where the economic gender gap [ranked 149th] is larger than the political gender gap,” added the study. Furthermore, when women controlled their own wages, their homes also became more progressive and the community also become more accepting of working women. Moore said, “There are signs of women’s increased decision-making and financial independence, but that does not necessarily come at a cost to men. The results on decisions hinge around whether women report higher involvement in either deciding or helping decide how to spend money and whether to work outside the home–so an increase in women’s power here would not necessarily mean men’s influence declined since they could be making more joint decisions.”

Image credit: Entrepreneur

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