Why is female labor force participation declining in India?

One of the big problems in the Indian economy, and in gender relations, is that economic growth has not translated into more women working, in fact the contrary.  This paper is a little bit old (2014), but so far the most systematic analysis I have found:

…we analyse four prominent hypotheses of the root causes of declining female participation. The findings in this paper indicate that a number of factors were responsible for the recent sharp decline in estimated labour force participation rates among working-age women. Some factors, such as increased attendance in education and higher household income levels, are no doubt a positive reflection of rapid economic development. Additionally, we find evidence that changes in measurement methodology across survey rounds is likely to have contributed to the estimated decline in female participation, due to the difficulty of differentiating between domestic duties and contributing family work. However, the key long-run issue is the lack of employment opportunities for India’s women, owing to factors such as occupational segregation.

Here is the full paper by Steven Kapsos, Evangelia Bourmpoula, and Andrea Silberman.  Dhanaraj and Mahambari suggest that women who work are more likely to be the targets of domestic violence, another factor holding back labor force participation.  what else do you know on this topic?


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