Working Conditions For Women Worst In Delhi, Best in Sikkim, Says Report

Many states have laws limiting women's working hours and they face harassment in the workplace and while commuting. (Representational Image)

Washington: When it comes to poor working conditions for women, Delhi tops the list while Sikkim has been rated the best place to work in for women, according to a report.

The report brought together jointly by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a top American think-tank and Nathan Associates, gave Sikkim the highest possible 40 points while Delhi received just 8.5, reflecting the state of affairs in the national capital.

The states were ranked according to four main factors:

  • Legal restrictions on women’s working hours in factories, retail and the IT industry
  • Responsiveness of state’s judicial system to crimes affecting working women, such as sexual harassment
  • Number of women workers in the state
  • Number of incentives offered to women entrepreneurs

The report said, “The tiny north-eastern state of Sikkim is the breakthrough state for women in the workplace, thanks to its high rates of female workforce participation, lack of restrictions on women’s working hours and high conviction rates for workforce crimes against women.”

Sikkim is followed by Telangana (28.5 points), Puducherry (25.6), Karnataka (24.7), Himachal Pradesh (24. 2), Andhra Pradesh (24.0), Kerala (22.2), Maharashtra (21. 4), Tamil Nadu (21.1) and Chhattisgarh (21.1).

Sikkim, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have removed all restrictions on women working at night in factories, retail establishments and the IT sector, the report said.

In Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, these restrictions were removed as a result of a court judgement.

Maharashtra just missed a perfect score as it only allows women to work until 10 pm in retail establishments.

On the other end of the spectrum, nine states and union territories do not formally allow women to work at night in any sector.

15 states and union territories did not offer women entrepreneurs any special incentives in their business-promotion policies, it said.

“In something of a surprise, Delhi came last in our index, due to its relatively low justice and workforce participation scores; its continued formal restrictions on women working at night in a wide range of sectors and its lack of any incentives for female entrepreneurs in its industrial policies,” the report said.

Female workforce participation in India is 24 per cent, the lowest in the world.

This is a serious drag on growth. A 2015 report by the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that India could add 16 per cent to its Gross Domestic Product or GDP in 10 years if women participated in the workforce at the same rate as men.

However, many states have laws limiting women’s working hours and they face harassment in the workplace and while commuting, it said.

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