The 4th (in-person) workshop on 'Women in the Economy’ was organized by the Digital Platforms and Women's Economic Empowerment (DP-WEE) initiative on February 2 and 3, 2024, at the India International Centre, New Delhi. The workshop included a keynote speech by Dr. Rachel Heath, University of Washington, Seattle followed by a presentation by researchers in India and abroad on thematic areas panning across education, mobility, safety and trade from a gender perspective spanning over both days. It witnessed over 50 participants across academia, think tanks, and the government, making it a successful event.
Project Head, Prof. Farzana Afridi set the context of the workshop addressing the participants during her welcome remarks followed by Dr. Rachel’s research presentation. Her paper focused on the causes and consequences of women’s labour force participation. Stating some of her research findings, she mentioned the catalysing role of increased international buyers, enhanced information provisions, and appropriate institutions like unions and policing in improving women’s working conditions. Video
Session I: Women and Education Video
Moumita Roy (Ahmedabad University) presented her paper titled ‘Are Students Really Biased Against Female Professors? Experimental Evidence from India’. She discussed how female professors have to demonstrate competence in both male stereotypical characteristics like leadership skills and animation skills and female stereotypical characteristics, i.e., nurturing and caring, to get better student evaluations of teaching (SET) scores (Slides). The discussant for this session was Souvik Dutta, IIIT Delhi. He discussed the importance and relevance of the paper in developing countries like India, where women are systematically underrepresented.
Prashant Poddar (University of Oxford) presented his research paper on 'Access to Technology and Math Proficiency among Students: Empirical Evidence from India’ and talked about the suggestive evidence from his study. His study confirms the positive impact of laptops in narrowing the learning gap across socio-economic status and gender (Slides). Discussing the paper, Rashmi Barua, JNU highlighted the quadruple difference research design used in the study and the scope for broadening the data sources and methods used to make it more impactful and enhance effectiveness.
Session 2: Women and Mobility Video
Aparajita Dasgupta (Ashoka University) presented her paper on ‘Gendered Transport Subsidy and its Short-Run Effect on Female Employment: Evidence from Delhi’s Pink Pass Scheme’. She highlights the importance of women's mobility and discusses how it can act as a barrier to female labor force participation. Her study focused on the Pink Pass scheme of the Delhi government, which provides free bus travel (Slides). Her discussant, Shabana Mitra, Shiv Nadar University, highlighted the importance of a theoretical lens on access and the unaffordability of transport for women and what it means for their economic empowerment.
Bharti Nandwani (IGIDR) talks about her paper, 'Rural Roads Infrastructure and Women Empowerment in India’, for which they conducted a causal impact evaluation of the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana to understand how the socio-economic participation of women changed over time. Her key indicators for measuring women's empowerment were mobility, perceptions of domestic violence, fertility, and household agency (Slides). The discussant for the session was Arka Roy Chaudhuri, Shiv Nadar University, who suggested improvements in techniques for achieving higher robustness in results.
Manisha Mukherjee (Maastricht University) presented her paper on 'Scorching Heat and Shrinking Horizons: The Impact of Rising Temperatures on Marriages and Migration in Rural India’. Her study discussed the impact of female migration (rural-rural and rural-urban) in India and its difference from male migration (presentation). Discussant Sisir Debnath, IIT Delhi, helped in explaining the consequences of even a 1°C increase in the average annual temperature in India and further highlighted the relevance of the paper in the present context.
Session 3: Sexual Harassment Video
Girija Borker (World Bank) discussed her research on ‘Sexual Harassment in Public Spaces and Police Patrols: Experimental Evidence from Urban India’, conducted in partnership with Telangana Police to study their special division instilled for enhanced safety and security of women through the SHE team (Slides). The discussant for the session, Farzana Afridi, DP-WEE, raised key questions about the data collection and commended how a low-intensity patrolling intervention can have positive outcomes.
Pritha Dev (IIM Ahmedabad) talked about her paper 'Suffering Twice: Employment and Wage Penalties for (Female) Sexual Harassment Complaints’, in which she delves into the potential of negative career repercussions after sexual harassment complaints by women on their employment and the credibility of the complainant (Slides). The discussant for the session, Anisha Sharma, Ashoka University, highlighted that de-biasing the norm is more important than developing robust mechanisms to curb sexual harassment at the workplace.
Session 4: Women and Trade Policy Video
Pavel Chakraborty (Lancaster University) presented his paper titled 'Can Trade Policy Change Gender Inequality? Evidence from Chile' which explored the effect of changes in trade policy on gender gaps (Slides). The discussant for the session, Kanika Mahajan, Ashoka University discussed the role of technological change and improvements in the gender gap in the firm.
The 2-day workshop came to its end with a vote of thanks delivered by Kanika Mahajan, appreciating the speakers for their excellent presentations and engaging discussions along with the organizing team of DP-WEE.
Farzana Afridi (Indian Statistical Institute)
Kanika Mahajan (Ashoka University)
Nikita Sangwan (Indian Statistical Institute)
Bhavya Gupta (JNU)