Women’s participation in the workplace has been reducing since the 1980s, while this would warrant specific measures to increase workplace participation, the rules not only neglect doing this but also let go of the special measure introduced for women in the earlier labour laws. For example, two of the most important Acts – Minimum wages and Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 – that protected/promoted women’s rights have been repealed on the one hand, while on the other hand their pro-women provisions are not incorporated fully in the current wage code. The consultation with feminist economists and women’s rights activists was organised by Oxfam India on August 18, 2020 to discuss the structure, assumptions and contents of the Code on Wages Bill. The panel agreed that the rules are patriarchal and largely exclusionary to women, hence more such consultations and fundamental changes are needed to fulfil women’s rights and needs as workers.
The panellists included Prof. Ritu Dewan, Vice President, Indian Society of Labour Economics; Prof. Ishita Mukhopadhyay, Department of Economics, University of Kolkata and Dr Sona Mitra, Principal Economist, IWWAGE. This note has been prepared by Amita Pitre with inputs from Rajini Menon, Ranjana Das and Ileena Roy, all with Oxfam India. Read more here.