Women participation in urban workforce has been increasing over the past two decades according to a report by IndiaSpend. Women today do not shy away from venturing into new business and success rate of such women entrepreneurship have helped increase the overall women participation rate. There has been an increase in the number of women entrepreneur from 6% in 2013 to 11% in 2014. [Feature Image Credit: Rediff]


Although those are positive signs, a close analysis of the data released by the Employment and Unemployment Survey, NSSO, 2011 highlights the growing problem of unemployment among urban educated females. Around 15.7% of the urban females with grads degree are unemployed, highest among other demographic groups. Unemployment rate among educated young women within the age group of 15 to 29 is even higher at 23.4%. The possible explanation could be women voluntarily dropping out of the work force due to lack of good opportunity.


Women In Urban India
Women In Urban India: Credit brainbuxa.com


However, a significant shift has been observed in the number of women entering the labour market in urban areas since 1991. “The number of women working and seeking work grew by 14.4% annually between 1991 and 2011, even though the population of urban women grew at only 4.5% during the same time period, according to the Census 2011”, as per IndiaSpend report. This means that number of women job seekers have increased more than ten folds, from 1.8 million in 1991 to 15.5 million in 2011 whereas there has been a steady increase in the number of women in workforce from 9 million in 1991 to 28 million in 2011. The unemployment rate among urban men is relatively low to that of 9%.


number of women job seekers have increased more than ten folds, from 1.8 million in 1991 to 15.5 million in 2011

This indicates that the availability of urban female job seekers is two times more to that of urban men. However, lack of relevant job opportunities renders them unemployed. It is feared that if this continues, it would discourage them from participating in the labour workforce or would force to settle for jobs that are not commensurate with their skills and expectations.


Any skill development programme might not be sufficient to address the employment disquiets of this demographic group due to the vast disparity between the demand and supply of the labour workforce.


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