Pretty much all I think about these days is women’s labor force participation, primarily in India. One of the big things on my mind is how increased reports of sexual assault, rape, and other crimes against women, particularly on public transportation, affect labor market entry and exit, hours worked etc. I’m clearly not the only one thinking about this as the Indian government has released a budget detailing pretty significant investment in women’s safety and to address crime.
“Women’s safety is a concern shared by all the honourable members of this House. We need to test out different approaches that can be validated and scaled up quickly,” he said.
The government plans to spend $9 million on a pilot scheme to improve women’s safety on public transport, and an additional $28 million in large cities.
“Crisis Management Centres” will also be set up in all government and private hospitals in the capital, to provide support to victims of crimes such as rape and domestic violence.
The number of crimes against women in India reported to the police such as rape, dowry deaths, abduction and molestation increased by 26.7 percent in 2013 from a year earlier, rising to 309,546 from 244,270, the National Crime Records Bureau says.
One of the primary questions is whether these increases in rape, dowry death , abduction and molestation are a result of some changes in female autonomy, or labor force participation, or something else that could lead to backlash, or whether it’s just an increase in reporting due to reduced stigma associated with reporting. It could also be something else all together, of course, but at least someone’s paying attention.