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Editorial of the Day (6th Mar): Green Jobs and Gender Parity

Context: The transition to low-carbon development has the potential to add about 35 million green jobs in India by 2047, yet facing gender disparity in workforce participation.

What is a Green Job?

A green job is defined as decent employment that contributes to preserving or restoring the environment, spanning across sectors like renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable resource management.

Current Challenges

  • Current State of Women in Green Jobs in India: Women’s participation in green jobs in India is significantly low.
    • Despite the potential addition of 35 million green jobs by 2047, women are underrepresented, especially in sectors like manufacturing, construction, and renewable energy.
    • For instance, women constituted only 11% of the workforce in the solar rooftop sector, despite a 250% increase in renewable energy capacity from 2015 to 2021.
  • Sectors Dominated by Women and Men: Women workers are mainly found in industries such as apparel, textile, leather, food, and tobacco.
    • In contrast, men dominate the workforce in infrastructure, transport, construction, and manufacturing sectors, comprising 85% of the workforce.
  • Barriers to Women’s Participation: The Skill Council for Green Jobs revealed that 85% of green skill training was provided to men, with social norms significantly limiting women’s participation in green job training.
  • Data Gaps: There is a lack of comprehensive data on women in green jobs in India.

Importance of Gender Equity in Green Jobs

Short-term and Long-term Benefits: Increasing women’s representation in green jobs can mitigate gender biases in the labour market and enhance women’s labour force participation rates in the short term. In the long run, it aids in empowering women through economic, technical, and social opportunities.

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Strategies for Empowering Women in Green Jobs

  • Educational and Professional Development: Despite 42.7% of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduates being women, their representation in key sectors for green transition like engineering is only 30.8%.
    • Enhancing early hands-on learning, providing mentorships, scholarships, and financial assistance are essential for empowering women in green jobs-related fields.
  • Support for Women Entrepreneurs: Implementing gender-focused financial policies and providing collateral-free lending and financial literacy training can enable women entrepreneurs to engage in the green transition market.
  • Leadership and Decision-making: Encouraging the inclusion of more women in leadership positions can ensure that gender-specific needs are integrated into low-carbon development strategies.
  • Comprehensive Strategy for a Gender-Just Transition: A multi-pronged approach that focuses on employment, social protection, reducing care work burden, and enabling skill development is necessary.
    • Partnerships across government, the private sector, and other stakeholders are crucial to leverage innovation, technology, and finance for women.
  • Addressing Data Gaps: Collecting sex-disaggregated data and conducting gender analysis are critical steps for improving participation and understanding the impact of low-carbon transitions on women.

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