Pinky Negi, an Indian teacher with two master's degrees, loved her old job at a public school in the Himalayan foothills. But then she did what millions of Indian women do every year — gave up her career when she got married and had children.

"The idea of not earning pinches me the most when I have to ask for the smallest of things," said Negi, who briefly tried home tutoring before the birth of her second child led her to give up work altogether.

"Even if I have to ask my husband, it is still asking someone else," she said in New Delhi at an office of the Self-Employed Women's Association, a union group that helps women find work.