Green jobs and the problem of gender disparity

Green jobs and the problem of gender disparity


Transitioning to low-carbon development in India could create around 35 million green jobs by 2047.

  • Despite the potential, women are underrepresented in green job sectors due to various social and structural barriers.


GS-02 GS-01(Gender, Society)

Mains Question:

Discuss the challenges and opportunities for women’s participation in green jobs in India. Examine the strategies needed to empower women and promote gender equity in low-carbon development initiatives. (250 words)

Dimensions of the Article:

  • What are ‘Green Jobs’
  • Significance of Green Jobs
  • India’s Efforts
  • Gender Disparities in Green Jobs
  • Barriers to Women’s Participation
  • Importance of Women’s Empowerment

What are ‘Green Jobs’:

  • Green jobs are a category of employment focused on positively impacting the environment and promoting overall ecological well-being.
  • They aim to mitigate the adverse environmental effects of various economic sectors and facilitate the transition towards a low-carbon economy.
  • These jobs typically involve activities related to renewable energy, resource conservation, and the promotion of energy-efficient practices.

Significance of Green Jobs:

  • In India, green jobs hold significant potential for sectors such as renewable energy, waste management, sustainable transportation, and urban agriculture.
  • These sectors offer promising opportunities to employ a skilled workforce and contribute to the country’s sustainable development goals.

India’s Efforts:

  • Skill Council for Green Jobs:
    • Established on October 1, 2015, as a not-for-profit, industry-led initiative aligned with the National Skill Development Mission.
    • Promoted by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
    • Aims to support manufacturers and service providers in India’s green business sector by providing skill development initiatives and workforce training.
  • Green Jobs Initiative:
    • Launched in 2008 by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the International Employers Organization.
    • Focuses on enhancing job placements, training opportunities, and employment prospects in green sectors globally.
    • Aims to foster collaboration between governments, businesses, and civil society to promote green employment initiatives and facilitate a transition towards sustainable economies.

Gender Disparities in Green Jobs:

  • While the shift towards green jobs presents a significant opportunity for economic growth and environmental sustainability, women remain underrepresented in sectors crucial to this transition.
  • Data reveals that men dominate industries like infrastructure, transport, construction, and manufacturing, while women are mostly concentrated in sectors like apparel, textile, and food.

Barriers to Women’s Participation:

  • Social norms and structural barriers limit women’s participation in green job sectors. These barriers include stereotypes about women’s suitability for technical roles, safety concerns, limited representation in STEM fields, and familial responsibilities.
  • Additionally, there’s a lack of access to training opportunities for women in green skills due to existing biases.

Importance of Women’s Empowerment:

  • Empowering women and promoting gender equity in climate actions are essential for realizing the co-benefits of a low-carbon economy.
  • Increasing women’s representation in green jobs can address gender biases in the labor market, improve women’s agency, and create economic opportunities, thereby contributing to their empowerment.

Way Forward:

  • Addressing Data Gaps: To enhance women’s participation in green jobs, it’s crucial to address data gaps and collect sex-disaggregated data on employment in green sectors. Mapping emerging areas for green growth and conducting gender analysis can provide insights into women’s roles and opportunities in low-carbon transitions.
  • Supporting Women Entrepreneurs: Gender-focused financial policies and products can facilitate women’s entry into the green transition market. Initiatives such as collateral-free lending, financial literacy training, and mentorship programs can empower women entrepreneurs and reduce barriers to access finance.
  • Promoting Leadership and Equity: Promoting women’s leadership in green development strategies is essential for incorporating gender-specific needs. Businesses and stakeholders must ensure equity and diversity in green job opportunities by mitigating gender biases and fostering inclusive work environments.