Why We Exist

One half of the world is women. In India, only a fraction of that half works for substantive economic benefit – either to make a living or simply because they want to. A study[1] shows that in recent years the number of women in the urban, organized workforce has reduced as their education has improved.

TFWW is committed to facilitating a change.

Girls are at the forefront in middle school, senior secondary and now even in higher education. In 2012[2], for the first time, women’s enrolment and performance in Indian universities was higher than for young men. Isn’t it natural then to expect an upswing in the number of women in the organised workforce? [3]

But the reality is different.  As soon as we look at the working population – women drop off the radar.  There are reasons, and it is these reasons that need to be addressed. Change must be initiated for educated, capable and willing women – not just for themselves, but for generations that follow; for their families, for communities and for society.  More women in the workplace would not only create a more gender-balanced world, but also enhance the potential of India’s growth.  Enterprises and institutions want this to change too; the presence of qualified women in the workforce is proven to positively impact and contribute to business growth (refer to research, maybe by Avivah). Policy makers – both private and public – need to build this into their agenda soon.

The Foundation for Working Women exists to facilitate this change.


[1] Surjit S. Bhalla and Ravinder Kaur: “Labour Force Participation of Women in India”; 2011; LSE Working Paper
[2] Missing them, again by Bhanu Prathap Mehta (link)
[3] This is true of the world as well. One source pegs it at 41% worldwide, others even lower. Even in most of the developed world, it’s less than 50%.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), out of 131 countries for which data was available, India ranks 11th from the bottom in female labour force participation (FLFP). In fact, the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) data reveals falling FLFP from over 40% in the mid- 1990s, to 29% in 2004-05, to 23% in 2009-10 and 22.5% by 2011-12.