Santosh Mehrotra, Centre for Informal Sector and Labour Studies,Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Globally, research has shown that, there is a high correlation between the level of per capita
income and the rate of female labour force participation. At the same time the agency and
autonomy of women in a country improve with the level of female labour force participation.
Sen (2000) has argued that the autonomy and agency of women in a society and their
empowerment is enabled by four conditions in their lives. First the higher the education level
of women, the more empowered they are likely to feel. Second, if they are working outside
the home, they are likely to feel a sense of autonomy and empowerment. Third, they should
also have an independent source of income from that of the significant other in their
household. Finally, their empowerment can be usually enhanced if they own assets and have
access to them. One can see from this analysis that the first three requirements for women’s’
empowerment are related to each other and to some extent co-dependent. We will keep these
considerations in mind as we analyse labour markets and how women engaged with them in
different parts of the world.
Santosh Mehrotra, Inequalities in the Gendered Labour Market: What can be Done?, CSE Working Paper #22, Azim Premji University, July 2019.