The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) is out with its fifth report which released on December 12, 2020. As the survey was done in the second half of 2019, it doesn’t take the pandemic into account. The report is the result of data collected from 17 states and 5 Union Territories and it is conducted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Here’s are five key findings of the survey when it comes to women in India:
Women adopting the menstrual hygiene
Even though most states excluding Mizoram have increased number of women using methods of protection during menstruation, the numbers are still very low. In Bihar, there is a 27% increase in women adopting menstrual hygiene but still, it is at 58.8%. Other states struggling are Gujarat (65.8%), Assam (66.3%), Tripura (68.8) and Meghalaya with only 64.9%.
Women and access to smartphones
Jammu Kashmir reported a promising increase in the percentage of women using smartphones in 2019-2020 with a 22% increase from the last NFHS report. However, in Andhra Pradesh, only 48.9% of women own smartphones. According to the report, 91.2% of women in Goa use smartphones. Sikkim also with 88.6% women is leading other states.
Women working paid jobs in the informal sector
So many women work the same jobs as men but the report discloses that the percentage of women getting paid for working those jobs is too low. Lakshadweep dropped straight 10 points since last report with now only 10.9% women getting paid in cash. Jammu Kashmir is at only 18.4%, Bihar at 12.6%, Assam at 19%. The most promising figures have come from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Manipur with 42.2%, 45.1% and 42.1% women respectively doing paid jobs.
Women and ownership of land/house
Out of 22 states, 11 states have reported a decline in the number of women owning property and most of the 11 states are northeastern states. Mizoram is only at 20.8% and Tripura went from 57.3% to 17.2% in one year. The law gives equal rights to men and women for land ownership but the NFHS-5 is proof that women are still not able to own land or house. The best figures are from Karnataka were 67.6% of women own land or house and Ladakh where 72.2% women have that ownership.
Women and decision making
The best graph is seen in this area which tells that more and more women are able to make decisions when it comes to health, household purchases and meeting relatives. With the maximum increase, Bihar reported 86.5% of women making decisions. Mizoram at 98.8% and the highest number of women in Nagaland with 99% reported figures. Ladakh and Sikkim saw a drop in percentage by 7-5%.
Image credit: Jake Lyell from USAID