A study by World Bank shows the declining rate of working women in India. In contrast, in most countries of the world, the percentage of working women is growing. Among the neighbouring countries, only Pakistan is behind us with 24.6% while India shows that 27% women were working in 2015-2016. Both Nepal and Bangladesh account for 79.9% and 57.4% working women respectively.
Luis Andres and his colleagues at World Bank, who wrote the paper, found that in India, parameters like married or unmarried, Dalit, Adivasi or upper caste, illiterate or college graduates don’t have much impact on the number of working women.
“The jobs that are available are marginal, low-paying, insecure and backbreaking, like construction in the recent past. Then, there are issues of safety for women or absence of facilities like creches. Patriarchal values too come into play. All these lead to women not getting paid jobs,”- Jayan Jose Thomas
The Arab world also fares badly on the list and is somewhere close to India on the list. But in other parts of the world, women are increasingly joining the workforce. China has 64% of its women population employed and joins the list of countries with highest number of women working. The United States also has over 56% women employed.
It is unclear as to why women are not taking up jobs in India even after India’s steady economic rise. However, economist Jayan Jose Thomas of IIT Delhi blames lack of jobs for this issue.
“The jobs that are available are marginal, low-paying, insecure and backbreaking, like construction in the recent past. Then, there are issues of safety for women or absence of facilities like creches. Patriarchal values too come into play. All these lead to women not getting paid jobs,” Thomas told TOI.
Earlier, another study—Employment and Unemployment Survey, NSSO, 2011–pointed out the decline in the percentage of working women among urban educated women. India has the largest youth demographic in the world and yet the number of working women in decreasing. The study pointed out that unemployed women comprised of 15.7% graduates and 23.4% young educated in the age-group of 15-29, the largest among other demographic groups.
Picture credit- AFP