Understanding the Impact of Digital Assets on Women in the Informal Service Sector

Authors/editor(s): Aarti Mohan, Swati Kumari, Kriti Barman, Kunal Raj Barua and Sansiddha Pani

As of 2020, women’s labour force participation in India stands at about 20 per cent. About 90 per cent of working women in India are employed in the informal sector, in certain kinds of jobs that are unskilled and pay less with little or no implementation of labour laws. At the same time the world is witnessing changing future of work and women’s share in the gig economy is increasing. Reports indicate positive aspects of this growth, such as the financial independence women gain from entering this economy as well as enhancement in the sense of self-identity for those who participate in the economy through platforms that help them advertise and sell their goods and services. However, this area is also fraught with challenges for women. While the ease of doing business that comes from using digital platforms clearly facilitates women’s participation, it also renders them susceptible to sudden changes in employment opportunities or fluctuations in the economy. The low and insecure incomes prevalent in many gig sectors, compounded by a lack of employment rights, benefits or social security means that many women are forced into highly precarious economic situations.

This report analyses how digital mediums can enable women’s mobility in the service sector as well as throw light on various barriers and enablers impacting the adoption of digital assets by women. The report provides recommendations to guide a digital engagement strategy that can enable women to cross the digital continuum and utilize digital assets to attain sustainable livelihood opportunities.

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Bibliographic information

Geographic coverage: India

Subject area(s): Economic empowerment; Innovation and technology

Resource type: Research papers; Policy strategies; Advocacy

Publication year: 2020