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Why even higher education fails to ensure more FLFP

Even though more women are accruing higher education, their participation in the nation's work force is scarce. The irony sounds tragic.

Over the span of time, the nation has seen more women accruing higher education. From the year 2007 to 2014, there has been a great increase of 7% in the demographics of women going for higher education. Yet, their contribution in the nation’s work-force is that low that according to ILO, it ranks at 121 out of 131, getting ahead of only the Arab nations. In the year 2013, Indian Female Labour Force Participation (FLFP) was the lowest in Asia after Pakistan.

The reasons behind this are various but the most prominent ones are as follows:

One, increasing age leads to dropouts. Parents fear that if their daughters do not get married before a certain age, they will not be found desirable to later get married by good families.

Second, less enrollment in professional courses. Women in India are enrolling mostly in humanities stream because that seems like a safe option that will not create a hindrance in their marriage prospects. And so, even when women are getting educated, number of men enrolling in professional courses is much higher.

Third, marriage. Because after marriage women are given the role of care-givers, much of their time is taken up by their marriage. Families impose all sorts of restrictions which hardly ever comply with the work norms.

Fourth, lack of job opportunities. Secondary and higher secondary education is not the criteria of providing jobs and hence, much of female population do not get employed even if they want to.

Increase in female work-force would lead to women empowerment and that is the need of the hour. That will happen only when women are paid well, they are granted more productive work and do not have to think about marriage every time they think about standing on their own feet.

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