IMF for enhanced social spending to bring in larger number of women in labour force

Women Empowerment

New Delhi, Nov 16: The International Monetary Fund(IMF), which termed gender-gap in Indian job market as higher than most other countries, pitched for greater investment in infrastructure and enhanced social spending to bring in larger number of women in labour force.

According to a recent IMF study, India’s GDP can expand by 27 per cent if the number of women workers increases to the same level as that of men. This is much higher than the positive impact a 50-50 gender parity in workforce can have on many other economies.

“The study refers to the GDP gain that would materialise if the labour force participation gap between men and women is closed. This gender gap in labour force participation is much larger in India than in most other countries,” said Kalpana Kochhar, Deputy Director of IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department.

Kalpana Kochharreportedly said: “Specifically, this gender gap is around 50 per cent in India, compared with an average gap of 12 per cent in OECD countries. Since the gap is much larger in India, the economic gain from closing it is much larger compared with other countries.”

In an interview to a news agency, she said that delivering such a large increase in women participation will require work along many dimensions, including increased labour market flexibility, greater investment in infrastructure, and enhanced social spending.

When asked about the potential benefits in terms of GDP growth that India can realise by removing the financial and employment exclusion on parameters like caste and religion, Kochhar said, “the IMF has not done any work on this issue beyond looking at gender gaps”.

On G-20 pledge to reduce the gap in women’s labour force participation by 25 per cent by 2025, she said it was a very positive step.

“In developing economies, better infrastructure in rural areas and increased expenditure on the education of girls and women will help. More equal laws and reducing discrimination will also be needed to meet this goal,” she added.

Kochhar recently co-authored a paper on ‘Catalyst for Change: Empowering Women and Tackling Income Inequality’ which also talks about cash transfers being conditional on sending daughters to school.

(With Agency Inputs)

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