In a concerted effort to boost women’s participation in the workforce and promote gender equality, several ministries of the Union government have issued a series of advisories aimed at enhancing opportunities and ensuring the safety and well-being of women employees across various sectors.
The Ministry of Labour & Employment, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, and Ministry of Road Transport & Highways jointly released advisories to encourage the inclusion of women in industries traditionally dominated by male workers. These advisories underscore the government’s commitment to fostering a more inclusive and equitable work environment.
The Ministry of Women & Child Development and Ministry of Labour & Employment co-hosted the event titled “Saksham Nari, Saksham Bharat” – Women in the Workforce for ‘Viksit Bharat’ at the Bharat Mandapam on Tuesday. The event, chaired by Union ministers Smriti Irani and Bhupender Yadav, aimed to outline a comprehensive strategy for women-led development through collaborative efforts between key ministries.
During the event, Union minister Smriti Irani highlighted significant features of the guidelines, applauding the Ministry of Labour & Employment for its initiatives to ensure fair treatment of women construction workers, including direct online payments into their accounts to eliminate exploitation.
“We are proudly a part of Digital Democracy under the leadership of our Hon’ble Prime Minister, and today more than 24 crore women across the country have bank accounts,” said Mrs Irani.
She emphasised the importance of providing facilities for migrant women workers and underscored the government’s commitment to women’s empowerment through various schemes and initiatives.
The Ministry of Women & Child Development, in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour & Employment, has submitted a joint proposal to the Ministry of Education advocating for support to construct hostels within Central Universities. These hostels would accommodate working women engaged in higher studies while also holding jobs. Currently, seven universities have put forth their proposals.
Union minister Bhupender Yadav stressed the need for equal opportunities for women in the economy and highlighted various legislative measures aimed at improving the living standards of women workers in different industries. He noted that women’s participation in the workforce has seen a positive trajectory, reaching 37 per cent in 2022, but emphasised the collective responsibility to further enable women’s participation.
The advisory on building and other construction workers mandates 26 weeks of maternity leave.
Arti Ahuja, Secretary of the Ministry of Labour & Employment, outlined several government initiatives implemented over the past decade to boost women’s workforce participation, including amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act and significant disbursements for maternity benefits through the Employees’ State Insurance (ESI).
Indevar Pandey, Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, underscored the ministry’s mandate to create an ecosystem conducive to increased women’s participation in the workforce, citing various sub-schemes designed to empower women across different sectors.
The advisories issued by the government include a range of measures, from gender-neutral recruitment practices to the establishment of working women hostels and creche facilities. The government aims to address factors hindering women’s participation in the workforce, including childcare responsibilities and gender pay gaps.
The government’s initiatives also seek to ensure safety, dignity, and equitable opportunities for women workers across diverse industries, laying the groundwork for a more inclusive and prosperous future.