At 27%, Female Labor Force Participation Rate (FLFPR) in India is low and declining at the bottom of the ranks in South / East Asia, despite findings of National Sample Survey (NSS) that women, especially in rural settings, desire to work. Why then do so few Indian women work outside the home?
Can we increase the labor force participation of women if we offer flexible work from home?
The objective of the Female Labor Supply (FLS) study is to understand the barriers to labor force participation of women in rural India. We aim to rigorously evaluate, via a randomized controlled trial, the effectiveness of home based work and provide a framework for its potential implementation at a larger scale. We shed light on the extent of women’s mobility restrictions:
To this effect, we conducted a pilot study (Jan 2019 - Feb 2019) in the village of Munnahalli, in the Kalaburagi district of Karnataka, India. The pilot program was a small scale randomized control trial spanning three weeks in one village. 50 women were hired for 15 days to make woven bracelets. Every 5 days, they were assigned either to work from home or from the village workshop and were assigned a price (varying from INR 5 to INR 50 per bracelet).
The pilot yielded the following results:
One of the main goals of this study is to integrate women in rural India to the labor force, and to bring their products to the national and international markets, following a fairtrade and sustainability business scheme.
The findings from our pilot allows us to design a novel supply chain characterized by fair wages, female empowerment and worker welfare, and that is sustainable enough to improve the livelihood of low-income women in rural India.
The larger experiment will span across four villages and 1200 women, in Gulbarga District, Karnataka. Writ to us to know the “sustainable” product we have designed, it’s around closing the loop on cloth-waste generation.
Image credits: Mansi Kabra / Nayantara Parikh
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