Global evidence shows that women make a significant contribution to the economy, yet they continue to be disproportionately affected by poverty, discrimination and exploitation. Despite economic growth, decline in fertility rates of women, and rise in schooling and improved learning outcomes for girls, Female Labour Force Participation (FLFP) levels in India remain alarmingly low, with only one out of every five women of working age in the work force. Women’s access to resources, assets and other rights and entitlements also continues to remain low, leading to limited to no impacts on other social development outcomes.
Economic empowerment of women is fundamental to achieving gender equality and inclusive growth. IWWAGE was set up to address this challenge. It attempts to shift the evidence base from “How” to “What Works” to improve women’s participation in economic activities by addressing barriers to women’s work, facilitating women’s access to decent work and economic resources, and leveraging the transformative potential of Women’s Empowerment Collectives (WECs). IWWAGE generates, synthesises and promotes rigorous evidence on its three thematic areas, namely, Barriers to Work, Quality of Work, and Women’s Agency.
Areas of Work
Barriers to Work
Women find it more difficult to get preferred opportunities compared to men. Their work preferences are mostly influenced by socio-economic constraints and traditional gender roles, where family and care responsibilities form a significant barrier. Lack of safe and accessible transportation also forms one of the most challenging factors. This often leads to confinement of women to specific occupations and/or limits them to low-quality jobs, often flexible or part-time roles, in vulnerable conditions.
Quality of Work
Women’s equitable participation in and ability to capture value from productive activities. Equitable participation implies equal access to opportunities, equal wages, equitable conditions of work and equal access to resources for women. Value capture indicates improvement in abilities to earn income both in absolute terms as well as relative to men and have greater bargaining power within the household decision-making that builds agency and facilitates women’s empowerment.
Women’s Agencies are crucial to build leadership and provide access to resources. They are institutions built around principles of social cohesion and equity and enable women to achieve economic and political empowerment. Evidence from some African countries has shown that the formation of groups is one way to deal with power imbalances in a gender unequal society that helps to bring better outcomes for women.
IWWAGE has partnered with leading research institutes and experienced professionals in the areas of research, evidence generation to influence policies that impact lives of women and girls.
ISI Delhi Center and IWWAGE work together on the following projects:
Modelling of Women’s Labor Supply Decisions in a Life Cycle Framework
Female Employment, Soil Endowment, and Agricultural Technology
Enabling Access to Work Opportunities for Women in Manufacturing
Nudging Households to Increase the Usage of Clean Fuel
The overarching objective is to rigorously analyze the constraints that women face in engaging in remunerative economic activities —
primarily from the supply-side perspective — while also attempting to understand the demand-side factors that affect their economic