More married women than single women are working in India, as per the Census 2011 data which was released recently.

The Census data considered women of the child-bearing age, i.e. from 15 to 49, and found out that in that age-group, married women who are working are more in number than unmarried women.

It also revealed that women having regular jobs also had fewer children than women who don’t work, which is a progressive choice. However, in such cases, the bias towards having a male child is much more, which skews the sex ratio. The major chunk of non-working women in the Census data are even worse — they are not only having more children, but also creating a huge gap in the gender ratio which shows patriarchal values are still prevalent in society.

Within the age group, 27% of unmarried women are working in comparison to 42% of married working women. The age group selected shows that a lot of unmarried women can be studying at their age or are restricted to sit at home by their parents who don’t want them to work.

The report also shows a dip in the fertility rate for working women from 3.3 to 2.9 a decade ago.

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Among marginal workers or those who have irregular jobs and only work for six months in a year, there is a close proximity in the desire to limit children and bias towards boy child. However, the fertility rate among them remains high at 3.4, which has reduced from 3.7, a decade ago.

Progressively, the sex ratio has increased in this group from 911 in 2001 to 914 in 2011. According to experts, in case of marginal workers, they cannot afford to have sex-selective abortions, forcing their women to have more pregnancies in pursuit of a male child. In tribal and extremely rural communities, sex-selective abortions are not allowed.

The rural-urban comparison shows the true reality about empowerment. While 50% of rural women go out for work, only 22% urban women work. The fertility rate is better in urban working women who have two children on an average as compared to three among their rural counterparts.

 The sex ratio, however, has gone down from 936 to 906 for the urban women, the lowest among all economic groups.

Picture credit- Qz

While 50% of rural women go out for work, only 22% urban women work