scorecardresearch
Thursday, Dec 08, 2022

Election Result LIVE

Women are capable economic agents who need effective rule of law to function to their full capacity: Prof Hema Swaminathan

Swaminathan and Prof. Deepak Malghan from the Centre for Public Policy, who have research papers on women’s labour force participation, have found that it is low in many regions of the world.

IIM Bangalore, Prof. Hema Swaminathan (IIM Bangalore Website)

In her talk on ‘Women’s Legal Rights and Inequality in Economic Resources: A Global Perspective’, the fifth in the series ‘Inequality Conversations’ hosted by the Centre for Public Policy at IIM Bangalore, Prof. Hema Swaminathan focused on inequality in the economic sphere with respect to employment and asset ownership, explaining that economic freedom and empowerment is foundational to empowerment in other spheres.

“Successful examples are inspiring and push boundaries, but they do not change the lived realities of most of the world’s women to whom equality is still not within reach. The ability to command and enjoy economic resources is important in its own right – they build agency, confidence, create peer groups, networks, and so on and lead to empowerment,” she said.

Swaminathan and Prof. Deepak Malghan from the Centre for Public Policy, who have research papers on women’s labour force participation, have found that it is low in many regions of the world. In no country do they earn as much as men do, on average, and this does not change across the income distribution. She also listed the reasons for gender inequality in labour income.

“While the broad data says discrimination against gender is prohibited, a recent Index of States in India report, based on an analysis of 48 Acts, 169 Rules and 20 Notifications, shows that discrimination in employment continues,” she added.

Subscriber Only Stories
Behind BJP’s record performance in Gujarat, an agile leadership and...Premium
The answer for India’s economic recovery: Labour-intensive manufacturingPremium
Seek to decolonise: Why we need to restructure the district collector’s rolePremium
What if MCD was still trifurcated?Premium

Quoting from the World Inequality Report 2022, which shows that female labour income share is systematically below 50 percent, ranging from below 10 percent to 45 percent, Swaminathan said, “Women are less likely than men to own high-value assets like land, house, and other forms of immovable property. Governments have a direct and indirect responsibility for much of the inequality in economic resources experienced by women.”

“We commonly hear that women do not have an appetite for risk, we hear of gender stereotypes. What I do want you to remember is that the choices which women make or the skills they possess have not fallen out of the sky – they have already encountered discrimination of some kind which has led to these choices. Women also pay, what is called, motherhood penalty where they experience a sharp drop in their earnings and do not experience any recovery in their earnings even after years of rejoining the labour force. Interestingly, there is no fatherhood penalty in the labour market,” she said.

Every country has committed to the Sustainable Development Goal 5 (gender equality), but the momentum to realising this goal is lacking, she said, drawing attention to legislations and policies enacted by national governments that limit women’s employment opportunities, and their opportunity to acquire assets and wealth.

Advertisement

“Further, such legislations not only devalue the tremendous contribution that women make to the economy and society, but they also fuel gender stereotypes of men as breadwinners and women as caregivers. Such policies hurt us all. What we need from governments through legislation and policies is the signal that women are capable economic agents who need effective rule of law to function to their full capacity,” she said.

“Property ownership gives one a great sense of security even if you don’t have an income, and across countries, women’s land/ home ownership is lower than men,” said Swaminathan, adding that asset acquisition happens through marriage, inheritance and markets in most developing countries.

Drawing attention to laws around assets through marriage (full community of property, partial community of property and separation of property), she said women fare better under community of property regimes, pointing out that India follows the separation of property regime, which could be a double whammy for women because it does not understand the patriarchy which is at play and makes invisible the contribution of women.

First published on: 19-04-2022 at 08:42:43 pm
Next Story

Karan Kundrra says he was ‘destined’ to meet Tejasswi Prakash on Bigg Boss, reveals marriage plans

Latest Comment
Post Comment
Read Comments
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
close