Women Safety Issues – Marital Rape, Domestic Violence, Swadhar, Nirbhaya Fund, etc.

The share of women in the unincorporated sector is highest in the south   


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Schemes related to women's empowerment

Mains level: Gender disparity can be seen among working-owners

Why in the News? 

Recently the Annual Survey of Unincorporated Sector 2022-23 revealed higher shares of women owners and workers in southern and some eastern states, and lower in western, northern, and central states.

Gender disparity in India concerning working-owners and unpaid family workers:

  • Prevalence of Women in Unpaid Family Worker Roles: Data from the Annual Survey of Unincorporated Sector 2022-23 reveals that women are predominantly represented as unpaid family workers.
    • For instance, in Telangana, while 43% of working owners are women, a substantial 59% are unpaid family workers, illustrating a significant gender disparity.
  • Lower Representation of Women as Working Owners: Across India, the proportion of women in working-owner roles is considerably lower compared to men. 
    • For example, in Telangana, women constitute 43% of working owners, reflecting a gender gap where men are more likely to own and operate businesses.
  • Regional Trends Highlighting Gender Disparities: The southern states, such as Telangana, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu, display a relatively higher share of women in both working-owner and unpaid family worker roles. 
    • Despite this, the overall pattern shows more men in ownership positions and more women in unpaid roles, reinforcing the gender imbalance.
  • Sector-Specific Disparities: In the manufacturing sector, women’s representation as working-owners and hired workers is lower than in unpaid family roles. 
    • For example, in Telangana, women constitute 52% of formal hired workers but only 26% of informal hired workers, indicating a disparity in employment types and compensation.
  • National Overview of Gender Roles: On a national level, the survey indicates that the share of women in unincorporated enterprises varies by state and job type. 
    • While women play a significant role in unpaid family work, their representation as working owners remains limited. 
    • This trend is consistent across different regions, with southern states showing relatively better but still imbalanced gender representation in the workforce.

The reason behind these issues: 

  • Cultural and Societal Norms: Traditional gender roles in India often assign women the responsibility of unpaid domestic and family work, limiting their opportunities for paid employment and entrepreneurship.
  • Access to Resources and Opportunities: Women often have less access to financial resources, credit, and capital needed to start and run businesses compared to men. This financial barrier restricts their ability to become working-owners.
  • Work-Life Balance and Family Responsibilities: Women typically bear a disproportionate share of caregiving and household responsibilities, limiting their availability for formal employment and entrepreneurial activities.
  • Network and Mentorship Gaps: Women often have fewer professional networks and mentorship opportunities, which are crucial for business growth and career advancement.

Steps taken by the Indian Government: 

Scheme/Initiative Year Objective Key Features
Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) 2015 Address declining child sex ratio and empower girls through education ·         Awareness and advocacy campaigns

·         Enforcement of PC&PNDT Act

·         Improving enrolment of girls in schools

One Stop Centres (OSC) 2015 Provide integrated support and assistance to women affected by violence ·         Medical aid

·         Police assistance

·         Legal aid

·         Psycho-social counseling

·         Temporary shelter

Ujjwala Yojana 2016 Provide LPG connections to women from BPL households to safeguard their health ·         Clean cooking fuel

·         Reduce health hazards associated with unclean fuels

Mahila Shakti Kendra (MSK) 2017 Empower rural women through community participation ·         Interface for rural women to approach government

·         Skill development training at grassroots level

Nari Shakti Puraskar 2015 Recognize exceptional work in empowering women and promoting gender equality ·         Highest civilian honors for women

·         Conferred by the President of India on International Women’s Day


Way forward: 

  • Enhance Access to Financial Resources and Training: Implement targeted financial programs to provide women with easier access to credit, grants, and capital needed to start and grow businesses. This can include microfinance initiatives, low-interest loans, and financial literacy training.
  • Strengthen Legal and Social Support Systems: Enforce and improve existing gender equality laws and policies to ensure women’s rights in the workforce and in business ownership. This includes better implementation of anti-discrimination laws and providing legal support to women entrepreneurs.

Mains question for practice: 

Q Despite various government initiatives and policies aimed at promoting gender equality, significant gender disparities persist in the ownership and workforce participation in unincorporated enterprises across different regions of India. Discuss the reasons behind these disparities and suggest measures to address them.15M

Mains PYQ: 

Q “Though women in post-Independent India have excelled in various fields, the social attitude towards women and feminist movement has been patriarchal.” Apart from women education and women empowerment schemes, what interventions can help change this milieu? (UPSC IAS/2021)

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