According to a report, Sikkim has the best working conditions for women. The report brought together jointly by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a top American think-tank, and Nathan Associates, gave Sikkim the highest possible 40 points while country’s capital New Delhi received just 8.5.
The states were ranked according to four main factors: legal restrictions on women’s working hours in factories, retail, and the IT industry; the responsiveness of the state’s criminal justice system to crimes affecting working women, such as sexual harassment; the number of women workers in the state as a percentage of total workers; and the number of incentives the state’s start-up and industrial policies offer women entrepreneurs.
The report says, ‘The tiny State of Sikkim is the breakthrough state for women in the workplace, thanks to its high rates of female workforce participation, lack of restrictions on women’s working hours, and high conviction rates for workforce crimes against women (albeit on a small sample size).’ Sikkim is followed by Telangana (28.5 points), Puducherry (25.6), Karnataka (24.7), Himachal Pradesh (24. 2), Andhra Pradesh (24.0), Kerala (22.2), Maharashtra (21. 4), Tamil Nadu (21.1) and Chhattisgarh (21.1).
Sikkim, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu have removed all restrictions on women working at night in factories, retail establishments and the IT sector.
India has the world’s lowest rate (24%) of female workforce participation whereas a report of the year 2011 says Sikkim has female work participation rate to be 39.57% which would be much higher as of now. A 2015 report by the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that India could add 16% to its GDP in 10 years if women participated in the workforce at the same rate as men. But many states have laws limiting women’s working hours, and Indian women face harassment in the workplace as well as while commuting.
Sikkim has been in the news for some good reasons recently. A week ago Sikkim was also adjudged as the cleanest State of India by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO).