A new ILO-Gallup survey has found that only 30 per cent of Indian women would prefer to work in a paid job as against 41 per cent who would prefer to stay at home. Also, 22 per cent of them want paid jobs which also have the option of family care at home.
This is a big share of women who are saying that they would prefer to stay at home instead of going to do paid work. Only few countries had a higher proportion of women who said that they would like to stay at home. These were Pakistan (51 per cent), Afghanistan (56 per cent) Bangladesh (46 per cent) and Iraq (43 per cent).
Only 24 per cent of women would prefer to stay at home in China. On a global level, 27 per cent of women would prefer to stay at home.
The survey was conducted in 142 countries and took into account the opinions of almost 149,000 adults.
The ILO also found that only 26 per cent of women in India work, and that too in part- time positions.
Ironically, Indian men seem to want women to work more than women themselves want to work. 39 per cent of Indian men want women in their family to work in a paid job, 26 per cent want them to manage jobs along with family care and 30 per cent want women to stay at home.
The biggest challenge for women was balancing work and family, and the second biggest challenge was that there are no flexible work hour policies.
Fernanda Barcia de Mattos, Research Officer (Employment) at ILO, said: “Perhaps social noms which dictate appropriate behaviour for women and men, and social conditioning, play a role in the gap between Indian and global responses, along with the lack of care in work support facilities.”
More research is needed as to why Indian women do not feel comfortable with the idea of going out and working, said Mattos. Companies which are looking to attract women talent should think about strengthening infrastructure that may make women more comfortable. Attention to policies like flexible work hours, and maternity and paternity leave can help women balance their work and family lives.
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