Policy recommendations

A multitude of interlinked factors constrain FLFP. A holistic approach is needed to address these barriers and integrate women into the workforce.

  • Educating women may not in itself ensure FLFP, but it is the foundation for women’s productive employment. As parents may discriminate against daughters in terms of human capital investment, government policy and programmes should actively promote education and formal skills training for girls.
  • Interventions are needed to address the practices of early marriage and childbearing, which negatively impact human capital accumulation and labour force participation among women.
  • Investment in female education and skilling, as well as delayed marriage and childbearing, are more likely if there is creation of sufficient ‘good’ jobs commensurate with the general increase in education levels in developing countries.
  • Gender equity requires a drastic shift in cultural norms. Adolescence may be an effective time to shape gender attitudes, aspirations, and behaviours in the long run. This can be achieved through sensitisation campaigns in schools. There should be particular emphasis on boys as they are likely to be involved in the labour supply decisions of female family members in the future.
  • Access to affordable, reliable childcare facilities and the provision of family leave can enhance FLFP among women.
  • Improving access to public services such as drinking water and clean fuel can support married women in managing their domestic duties more efficiently, leaving time for undertaking paid work.
  • Since the acceptance of women in public spaces can only increase slowly, as more and more women step out of their homes, some measures of segregation and safety will be needed in the short term to encourage women’s mobility. Besides ensuring stronger rule of law, these may include provision of separate women-only sections on buses and trains, adequate street lighting, CCTV cameras at bus stops, helplines, and so on, and the presence of more female police officers in public spaces.
  • Gender parity in work and pay may encourage more women to join the labour force.
  • Stronger legal institutions can reduce the gender gap in trust and economic activity among entrepreneurs.
  • The provision of credit, along with business skills training and the facilitation of networking among beneficiaries, can encourage female entrepreneurship.
  • Providing migration support to women can enable them to take jobs away from home. This may take the form of assistance in finding accommodation, opening a bank account, or finding medical help.
  • Good quality time-use data should be periodically generated to better understand the issue of time poverty among women.