Conventional understanding has been that women are last to be hired at the time of economicexpansion and first to be fired at the time of economic crisis. Women become major victimsof rationalisation, mechanisation and automation. When structural changes take place,women are not selected for skill upgradation, if they don’t assert collectively.But, new international division of labour has changed this dynamics as the focus is oninduction of young, moderately educated girls who would do minute and monotonous withconcentration and dexterity. e.g. pharmaceuticals, computers
Factors Affecting Women’s Entry in Labour Market
Changes in age-structure, urbanisation, level & nature of economic development,infrastructure, government policies, labour laws, nature of work, structure of family, culture& tradition affecting autonomy and control, fertility levels and childbearing practices, natureof housework, women’s property rights, education, age at marriage, migration, access totechnology.
Table 1Labour Force in 1995 in India
Workers age group 15-64Average Annual Growthrate of the Labour ForceLabour Force Participationrate in 1995MaleFemale1965-19951995-2025Age Group15-64Age Group10-1926 Crores8.4 Crores2.1 %1.6 %MaleFemMaleFem90 %31 %30 %16 %
World Development Report, 1995. Nearly 1/3 of Indian women and 1/6 of Indian girls are a part of the labour force. In the low productivity segments of the economy, the choices before the girls have been child-marriage,child- prostitution or child-labour (CM, CP, and CL). Grooming of girls in different parts of the country determines whether they would be part of the SS side of the CM, CP or CL or grow as empowered women. Studies on this process from the political economy perspectiveare handful but they throw light on the areas of active intervention by the state, civil societyand the social movements. National Campaign Against Child Labour has carved out phase-wise programme of rehabilitation of child-labour and integrating them into the formal/ non-formal educational institutions. Homes for street-children have been established in the citieslike Delhi, Banglore, Bombay, Ahmedabad, and Calcutta. Public interest litigation casesagainst inhuman conditions in the rescue homes, by social organisations have forced the ironwall of secrecy fall. Employers with modern outlook have realised that without healthy andeducated\skilled labour-force, they can’t attain high productivity. But, in spite of thisawareness, condition of girl child labour is deplorable. In match industry in Shivkashi, out of 45000 children, 90 % are girls.
Highest numbers of girl-children are sold either as child- brides or as bonded labourers or as child-sex workers in the drought-prone areas.
Brutalisation of girl-victims of CM-CP-CL is more pronounced because their malecounterparts have to face control of their labour and sexuality while girl children have to bear multiple burdens of control of sexuality, fertility and labour and consequences of teenage pregnancy are faced by girls alone. Sociological studies examining material basis of this
Born to Work-, Child Labour I n India
, Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1997.
Girl Child- A Status Report, UNICEF, SAARC Decade for a Girl Child (1990-2000 A.D.), Delhi.