Class Matters?: Exploring the Trends in Female Workforce Participation in India after 2004-05
45 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2017
Date Written: October 30, 2017
Recently, the issue of declining female labour force participation in Indian labour market accompanied by its impressive economic growth rate has become an important concern for both policy makers and academicians. Studies on this topic propose some probable reasons for this peculiarity in female labour force participation in India. It can be argued from mere logic that the general factors influencing the decision of women to participate in the labour market is similar to that of the men. However, there are complex interplays among the social, cultural and political factors which have more pronounced repercussions on the women's decision to work than that of the men. With this backdrop, the present paper tries to explore the possible aspects or factors which were argued to be instrumental in influencing the level and pattern of female work participation in a society. We specifically make an attempt to see how women belonging to different income categories are placed in terms of participation in work, quality of employment and their engagement in industry of economic activity. We adopt the exploratory approach to analyze the objectives of this paper. Along with the published reports of various government agencies, this paper also utilizes extensively the unit records of the employment schedule of National Sample Survey Office for two quinquennial rounds: 2004-05 and 2011-12. The paper observes that women workers in general are at the disposal of greater disadvantages in India that is particularly striking in rural areas. Employment structure in India has led to the polarization of skills such that women predominate in low paid, low skill work, both in rural and urban areas. Whatever jobs have been created, they mainly cater to the highly educated women. This paper perceives that economic growth alone is not sufficient to ensure higher participation of women in the labour market and also emphasizes that removal of statistical invisibility of women workers be debated intensively.
Keywords: Female Employment, Economic Classes, Worker Participation Rates, India
JEL Classification: J20, J21, J22, J24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation