Does India's Economic Transformation Promote Women's Economic Empowerment?

India has experienced a period of sustained, strong economic growth due to a mix of structural changes in the economy and large-scale public policy initiatives. This has been accompanied by a narrowing of the gender gap in education. However, female labour force participation rates, particularly in rural areas, have stalled. Previous research in this area has indicated that as households prosper socially and economically, women's labour force participation can decline. This study will examine the different, and sometimes contradictory, ways in which economic growth can affect women's access to, and control over, resources. It will examine the effects of structural shifts in the economy as well as the impact of government employment programs to assess the ways in which economic change affects women's opportunities for economic transformation and empowerment. The study will use a nationally representative panel survey to examine changes over time. By examining outcomes for women in households located across 34 different states, the project will compare areas that experienced substantial improvement in economic opportunities, infrastructure development, and policy implementation with those that did not. This project is part of Employment and Growth's research portfolio on expanding economic opportunities for women and youth. It complements the current GrOW portfolio of research projects which focus on the link between economic growth and women's economic empowerment. It will generate evidence on the degree to which sectoral shifts due to economic growth and public policies have influenced women's opportunities in the labor market.

Project ID


Project status


End Date

Thursday, March 28, 2019


24 months

IDRC Officer

Bouba Housseini

Total funding

CA$ 339,500


Employment and Growth

Project Leader

Sonalde Desai


The University of Maryland Foundation, Inc.

Institution Country

United States

Institution Website