woman working from home in India

Can flexible work opportunities for women bypass gender norms?


Published 10.07.24

Flexible work arrangements can both attract women to the labour force and provide a gateway to outside-the-home jobs. In India, where gender norms keep women out of the labour force, home-based jobs may represent the most immediate path to increase women’s labour force participation.


If women in developing countries want to work, what keeps them out of the labour force? Is it the other tasks they have to do, or the expectations of the people around them?

In this episode of VoxDevTalks, Lisa Ho joins us to discuss whether flexible work arrangements can boost female labour force participation, act as a gateway to work outside the home, and what the results from two experiments might mean for the millions of women in India and beyond who would like to work, but don’t.

This episode draws on two research papers which can be downloaded from Lisa Ho's website:

  • Bringing Work Home: Flexible Work Arrangements as Gateway Jobs for Women in West Bengal by Lisa Ho, Suhani Jalota and Anahita Karandikar
  • What Works For Her? How Work-from-Home Jobs Affect Female Labor Force Participation in Urban India by Suhani Jalota and Lisa Ho

If you are interested in this topic, you can read more about boosting female labour force participation in low- and middle-income countries in our VoxDevLit.