Society and Culture

No economy for women

In stark contrast to worldwide trends, women in India are being forced out of the workforce

Mar 8, 2017
According to a recent report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), India and Pakistan have the lowest rates of women’s labour force participation in Asia, in sharp contrast to Nepal, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia that have the highest, with richer nations like Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia falling in between. Moreover, even this low rate of labour force participation seems to be declining. The National Sample Survey found that while in 1999-2000, 25.9% of all women worked, by 2011-12 this proportion had dropped to 21.9%. This is in stark contrast to worldwide trends. Of the 185 nations that are part of the ILO database, since the 1990s, 114 countries have recorded an increase in the proportion of women in the workforce, and only 41 recorded declines, with India leading the pack. So what does this tell us about India’s growth story?
 
The importance of access
A heartening explanation could be that with rising incomes, women have the opportunity to escape harsh labour in farms and on construction sites, and focus on their families. But a more pessimistic and possibly realistic explanation might be that with declining farm sizes, rising mechanisation, and consequently dwindling labour demands in agriculture, women are being forced out of the workforce. If true, this has serious implications for future policy.
 
Read more at: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/no-economy-for-women/article17424207.ece
 
The Hindu, March 8, 2017

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