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Year: 2010 Type: Book Chapter Language: English

Women’s participation in the workforce remains low in India. This low participation is apparently a cumulative outcome of a complex web of factors. Yet, why it continues to remain so low in the current changing economic and social environment is far from clear. Given the suggested association between paid work and women’s empowerment, higher participation rates may be desirable. This paper attempts to review critically the association between women’s paid work and empowerment in India. It seems to assess the extent of women’s participation in paid work during the last three decades, and offer a glimpse into the nature and quality of women’s work. A discussion on the probable causes underlying women’s participation in paid work becomes necessary so as to assess and contextualize the empowering potential of their paid work. Finally, this paper reflects on the issues arising from the assessment with a view to suggesting possible directions for future work.