News Excerpt
India has taken the top spot in the South Asian region in the World Bank’s Women, Business and Law (WBL) Index 2020.

Highlights
•    The index examined laws and regulations affecting women’s economic opportunities across 190 economies.
•    There are eight parameters -- workplace, pay, mobility, marriage, parenthood, pensions, assets and entrepreneurship. India beat the Maldives to get the top rank in the South Asian region.
•    The World Bank study particularly commended the measures adopted by Maharashtra to remove restrictions on women’s ability to work in jobs deemed dangerous.
•    However, compared to other BRICS countries, India’s score was second-to-last. South Africa topped the WBL index among the BRICS grouping.
•    While scoring 100 in the indicators of mobility, workplace and marriage, India scored poorly with respect to pay (25).
Women, Business and the Law (WBL)
    Women, Business and the Law (WBL) is a World Bank Group’s project collecting unique data on the laws and regulations that restrict women's economic opportunities.
    When societies achieve gender equality, economies become more resilient. That's why Women, Business and the Law is committed to informing research and policy discussions about the state of women’s economic opportunities and empowerment.
    Women, Business and the Law celebrates the progress made while emphasizing the work still to be done to ensure economic empowerment for all.
    Since 2009, Women, Business and the Law has enhanced the study of gender equality and informed discussions on improving women's economic opportunities and empowerment. The dataset offers objective and measurable benchmarks for global progress toward gender equality. Comparable across economies, the data is useful for research and policy discussions on improving women's economic opportunities

Analytica: Economic participation of women in India
    The female labour force participation in India has fallen to 26 per cent in 2018 from 36.7 per cent in 2005, amid lack of access to quality education and underlying social, economic barriers limiting the opportunities for women.
    95 per cent or 195 million women are employed in the unorganised sector or are in unpaid work.
    The range of challenges for women and girls echoes across Asia and India – access to quality education, digital divide, which limits them from gaining employable skill sets and entering the workforce or establishing an enterprise.
    A set of underlying social, economic and political barriers limits opportunities for women.
    The education ecosystem needs to go through a set of system strengthening initiatives, including the introduction of digital and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education in schools, which in turn will introduce girls to various career choices

Conclusion
Giving women equal opportunities in the workplace leads to more successful economies. This is only possible if timely legislative reforms are introduced. The success of an economy is directly proportional to higher female labour force participation.


Govt. Steps TowardsFacilitating Women’s Economic Participation
    Pradhan Mantri MatruVandana Yojana (PMMVY), (erstwhile Maternity Benefit Programme) to contribute towards better enabling environment by providing cash incentives for improved health and nutrition to pregnant and nursing mothers.
    Scheme for Adolescent Girls aims at girls in the age group 11-14, to empower and improve their social status through nutrition, life skills, home skills and vocational training.
    RastriyaMahilaKosh (RMK), for extending micro-finance services to bring about socio-economic upliftment of poor women.
    Mahila e-Haat, a unique direct online digital marketing platform for women entrepreneurs/ SHGs/ NGOs
    Pradhan Mantri Mahila Shakti Kendra, which will empower rural women through community participation to create an environment in which they realize their full potential
    Working Women Hostelto ensure availability of safe, convenient accommodation for working family, along with daycare facilities for their children, wherever possible in urban, semi-urban and rural areas.
    STEP scheme was set up to provide skills to women so that they can take up gainful employment. It also provides the right competencies and training for women to become entrepreneurs.


PEPPER IT WITH
Gender Gap Index, Women, Peace, and Security Index, Gender Inequality Index