Budget 2024: India Sees Rise in Women’s Higher Education, But Work Challenges Remain.

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Finance minister highlights growth in female enrollment and entrepreneurship but acknowledges hurdles to retaining women in workforce.

Female college enrollment surges 28% in a decade, with 43% participation in STEM fields.
300 million Mudra Yojana loans empower women entrepreneurs.
However, companies struggle with high dropout rates among junior-to-middle level women employees.
Gig economy attracts many returning to work, with permanent positions showing slow progress in some sectors.
India’s budget speech revealed positive trends in women’s education and entrepreneurship, but also shed light on persistent challenges in workplace retention. While female college enrollment has seen a significant 28% increase in 10 years, with even 43% participation in STEM fields, companies grapple with high dropout rates, particularly among junior-to-middle level employees.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman highlighted the success of Mudra Yojana loans, with 300 million empowering women entrepreneurs. However, the post-pandemic scenario paints a complex picture. Many women returning to work choose the gig economy, while permanent positions show slow progress in sectors like IT and financial services.

Despite companies implementing strategies to attract and retain women, sectors like IT remain stagnant at around 34-35% female representation. The service sector fares better, with a rise from 12% to 20% in female participation between FY21 and FY23.

While India celebrates the rise in women’s education and entrepreneurial spirit, addressing workplace challenges and ensuring equal opportunities across sectors remains crucial for sustained progress.

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