GENDER BASED RECENT TRENDS IN EMPLOYMENT IN INDIA

The Supreme Court in a recent judgment reprimand the Indian government on Census parameters, which place housewives and women, engaged in domestic work in the same economic bracket as ³prostitutes, beggars and prisoners´. While giving the judgment Justice A.K Ganguly commented, ³One has to admit that in the long run, the services rendered by women in households sustain a supply of labour to the economy and keep human societies going by weaving the social fabric and keeping it in good repair. If we take these services for granted and do not attach any value to them, this may escalate the unforeseen cost in terms of deterioration of both human capabilities and the social fabric.´ For several centuries, women have been subordinated, not only socially but also economically especially in terms of employment. While some sectors are deemed unfit for women, often it is seen that women are at the receiving end when it comes to payment of wages. As per the World Bank indicators, Women participation in labour force in 2005 was 40%, while in south Asia it was merely 29% in 2007. As per Census of India 2001, the work participation rate for females is 25.7 %( 22.3% in1991) whereas that of males is 51.9 %( 51.6%). Table 1.Work Participation Rates (WPR) by sex 1991 - 2001 (Census) (in percentage) Census year 1991 2001 Male 22.3 25.7 Female 51.6 51.7 Percent 37.6 39.3

Work participation rate (WPR) is proportion of workers to total population

The above statistics make us believe that there has been a substantial rise in women employment over the last few decades. Looking at the Worker Participation Rate, we are bound to say that women's share of World in the labour force is on the increase with some women having been integrated in the formal economy, improving their financial status and increasing their numbers in certain professions and management positions. However, increased employment has not resulted in better access to higher paid jobs, nor has it mitigated discrimination. In fact, some studies reflect a decline in labour
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Those better endowed. with more access to skills. . there has been a spate of deregulation. and with more resources or better links internationally have been able to 2 . to markets. it has affected the labour market. Furthermore. With the removal of licensing system. This is particularly evident in countries of Asia and Africa. They are finding it increasingly difficult to move to better paying jobs and hence they have to move into low-wage low-productivity jobs. and with more resources or better links internationally have been able to benefit. with more access to skills. In addition. to markets. banking and finance related have benefited. With more and more emphasis being paid on technological skills.standards and occupations for women. almost closed economy. a small number of highly skilled professionals is in demand and has had an impact on mobility of labour. While skilled labour especially those involved in IT. especially sub-Saharan Africa India in Era of Globalization In the last two decades. This is reflected in the increase in unemployment rates all across the world. Economic opportunities created by the liberalization are highly unequal. This is reflected in the increase in unemployment rates all across the world. the semi-skilled or unskilled worker has been adversely affected. there has been a spate of deregulation. With the removal of licensing system. especially in the formal sector of developing countries where workers are forced to take up low paying jobs due to lack of social security and unemployment benefits. Those better endowed. Liberalization and Privatization. India is now following the policies of Globalization. In addition. women are often the last to benefit from job expansion and usually the first to suffer the consequences of job contraction. India has seen vital shifts in its perusal of economic policy. It has accentuated the poverty-unemployment generation-poverty cycle with governments being unwilling or unable to intervene in employment generation. Economic opportunities created by the liberalization are highly unequal. especially in the formal sector of developing countries where workers are forced to take up low paying jobs due to lack of social security and unemployment benefits. From being an interventionist. it has affected the labour market.

encompassing all major sectors of the economy (agriculture. This created a µlabour market flexibility. foreign investment and technology. 3 . trade. They are finding it increasingly difficult to move to better paying jobs and hence they have to move into low-wage low-productivity jobs. Women worker were ready to work part time and accept a lower wage than their male counterparts.benefit. an NGO for Self employed women. Feminization of Labour Globalization and liberalization has brought massive changes in the last few years. industry. which was necessary keeping in mind the international competition. which are 1. In addition. especially for women who are first drawn into exports sector and then ejected from it.. financial institutions. banking and finance related have benefited. especially around 1980-1990. the government also did not actively pursue policy of protection of labour through effective legislation. The boom associated with exports and manufacturing industry created huge employment opportunity. a small number of highly skilled professionals is in demand and has had an impact on mobility of labour. Loss of existing employment without creation of new employment. by SEWA.There are rapid shifts in employment pattern as seen in Asia. It has accentuated the poverty-unemployment generation-poverty cycle with governments being unwilling or unable to intervene in employment generation. While skilled labour especially those involved in IT. 2. They were being increasingly employed as they formed a bulk of cheap labour in industries where the working conditions were inferior. the Indian economy has witnessed a series of reforms. they did not actively engage in collective bargaining to improve working conditions. Changes due to new technologies and skills. As per a study on liberalization and women worker. the semi-skilled or unskilled worker has been adversely affected. the impact of globalization on the employment and income of women workers has created four distinct trends. especially for women (also known as feminization of labour). and so on). Hence. public sector. It was easy to hire and fire them. With more and more emphasis being paid on technological skills.

The change in WPR for urban female from 1991 is 4. While the growth rate has increased from 3. insurance charges and rail tariffs. over the years.7 31. Based on Work Participation Rate. reduction of budgetary provision of developmental planning.3% while for rural females it is merely 1.2 11.3.5% to around 8% in the last four decades. slashing of subsidies on food and fertilizers.4 Urban 49. It included reduction in public investment.5 52.9 Female Rural 23. In addition. Creation of new employment opportunities Women Worker in India: Trends A cross-sectional study of employment in different sectors has been done in order to assess the gender based employment situation in India in the last few decades.1 48.6 According. The NSSO studies on employment revealed a sharp decline in rate of employment generation across both rural and urban areas Table 2 WPR for men and women (1981-2001) Census year 1981 1991 2001 Source: Census Reports Male Rural 53. capital intensive and 'high-tech' productive activities.5%. The Government of India adopted the STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT PROGRAMME (SAP) in 1990 in response to negative balance of payments and a slow growth rate of 3. to the various census reports.8% indicating 4 . differences in wages in terms of gender are studied in order to assess the situation further.0 Urban 8.3 9.8 52. there are gender differences among rural and urban workers. Informalisation of work 4. it did not translate into creation of more job opportunities.9 50. There are glaring differences in male/female WPR across rural/urban divide as well. devaluation. it has not translated into a substantial growth rate across gender over the same period. increase in the bank rate. Although 1990s saw revival of growth rate in India. economy in government expenditure.2 26.

4 35. the reports of various NSS(National Sample Survey ) rounds also verify the fact as is evident from Table 3.6 32.8 41.2 39.7 42 28.3 41.8 8.7 A cross sectional study of employment trends reveal sectoral differences across regular.6 41.0 3.4 33.6 16. female casual labour for rural areas has seen a decline of about 3% over the years.7 40.6 35.7 47. casual and self-employed workers.7 58.6 14. This rate has been steadily increasing over the years.9 32.8 47.6 25.5 31.8 21.that globalization has not benefitted rural women.1 57. However.0 3. with their female counterparts lagging far behind.7 58. in case of both regular female workers and casual female workers there are contradictory trends.1 63..7 45.3 25.8 3.4 9.5 2. with respect to urban areas.. In the 2001 census These differences are indicative of the fact that men still dominate the employment sector in the country.5 45.7 33. While women regular workers have increased over the years.3 36.7 43. Not only is the census indicating towards the trend of continued male dominance over the years.7 44.Almost 1/3rd women in rural areas are still self employed.5 14.7 16.3 58.8 55 57. On the other hand regular employment for rural women has been constant over the same time period.7 27. Table 3 Total employment by type (percentage) 1987-88 Regular employment Rural males Rural females Urban Males Urban Females Casual Labour Rural males Rural females Urban Males Urban Females Self employment Rural males Rural females Urban Males Urban Females Source: NSS rounds 1993-94 1999-2000 2004-05 10. The male WPR in both the rural and urban areas were considerably higher than female WPR. female casual worker in urban areas have seen a sharp decline Again there are huge gender differences in 5 .6 60.4 8.1 41. while.6 16.8 38.

18 66.94 276.59 48. In addition.86 265. This could be also because of the fact that women form bulk of cheap and readily available labour. The above table throws light on average daily wages among casual and regular workers among rural and urban male and female. Conclusion 6 .34 72.24 Study of average daily wage rate is an important indicator.14 162.30 108. March 2007-08 Wages 175. this divide is most prominent across the gender divide. While there are differences in daily wages for casual and regular workers.some cases. they are physically and mentally better suited to perform tedious repetitive tasks as well as more docile then men Table 4 Average Daily Wage Rate (2007-08) Category Regular Urban/Rural Rural Male/Female /Person Male Female Person Urban Male Female Person Casual (non ±public) Rural Male Female Person Urban Male Female Person Source: Employment and Unemployment situation in India. It is also an indication of weak bargaining power of women workers vis-a-vis their male counterparts.33 86. The huge disparities with respect to wages reflect the unequal status of women as workers.04 212.58 51.41 60.

This inequality has not mitigated with the ushering of Globalization and Economic reforms in India. which has however been questioned by loss of employment and declining trends in important sector s like agriculture.Employment statistics in India reflect a trend of gender based inequality in India. With the new era of Globalization. the patriarchic set up the society is perhaps the most reflected in case of differences between men and women across all sectors and areas. the picture presented by the recent trends tells a different story. While the organized sector has been able to have some form of security for its employees. the entire economy has undergone a sea change in terms of production. The so-called µflat world¶ has created an illusion of equality. trade services. as there are very few formal organizations catering to the needs of women workers. Although migration is an indicator of growth. While growth in regular work indicates a growing organization of work. Those working in unorganized sector are unable to receive any benefits due to either absence of labour laws or loopholes in the existing mechanism Human resource is the biggest asset of a country. To protect and properly and efficiently utilize them is an important and huge task for it. This difference is very high and unacceptable given the fact that equal work demand equal work. apart from doing productive labour. Lastly. many challenges are being faced. the steady decline in casual work for women indicate that recession has made women more vulnerable than ever. The labour statistics provided here and elsewhere have sparked a debate on labour laws in the developing world. women are also involved in domestic. we need to ensure that there is a proper distribution of labour 7 . unpaid and unrecognized labor With the coming of New Economic Reform. To address these challenges and channelize our efforts. Again. the situation in unorganized sector is worse than ever. The policy of protectionism of post independence era is now replaced by that of non-intervention and deregulation.

N.. Globalisation: Challenging Dominant Discourses 7. organised by Delhi School of Economics and Centre for Development Economics. R. 2007 (2007) published by Ministry of Women and Child Development.pdf 6. A handbook of statistical indicators on women. (2004) by Malini Bhattacharya(Ed) .html 8 . Ghosh.com/team/downloads/publiperso/himanshuDSE. O. at Conference on µSustainable Developments and Livelihood¶. Women¶s Role Ignored: Court. (2010. Liberalization and women worker SEWA Academy. The little data book on gender 2009 (World Bank.in/Data_Products/Library/Post_Enumeration_link/eci6_pag e3. The Asian Age 9.csh-delhi. Worker Participation Rate (2001 Census) Substantial increase in Female Work Participation Rate retrieved from http://censusindia. Sinha. Liesl. Delhi. Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA). Ahmedabad. Banerjee. Government of India 2.BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Himanshu. published by Development Data Group of the Development Economics Vice Presidency and the Gender and Development Group of the World Bank 8. July 24). (2007) ³Employment Trends in India: A Fresh Look at Past Trends and Recent Evidence´. S. J (2009). Tulika Books 3. retrieved from http://www. 2009). India 5.gov. Jhabvala.(2001) Women's Work and Globalisation Trends: The South African Picture.. Never done and poorly paid :women¶s work in globalizing India 4. Globalization and Women¶s Work in Globalization.

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