Women Opt Out Of Workforce For Unpaid Care Work: Economic Survey

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Around 60 per cent of women in India in the productive age bracket of 15- 59 years are engaged in full-time household work, Economic Survey 2020 revealed. From 33.1 per cent in 2011-12, the female labour force participation has now reduced to a 25.3 per cent.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Economic Survey for the year 2019-20 was released on January 31, 2020.
  • The survey found that more women are opting out of the labour force and indulging in household work. A whopping 60 per cent women in India in the age bracket of 15-59 years are engaged in full-time household work.
  • As compared to urban areas, more women are opting out of the workforce in rural areas, the survey states. In urban areas, the participation rate of women in the workforce is constant for the last five years. 
  • Highlighting a positive point, the survey found that 30.3 per cent of young women in the age group of 15-29 years attended educational institutes in 2017-2018, almost double from 2004-05.

The Plague Of Unpaid Work

According to a recent study by Oxfam, women’s unpaid care work makes them more vulnerable to violence and poverty. In fact, globally, the unpaid work that women do amounts to $10.8 trillion per year. And overall, the unpaid work done by women accounts for 3/4th of the total unpaid work globally. All across the world, women do around 12.5 billion hours of unpaid care work daily. And this is equivalent to 1.5 billion people working for eight hours a day, without wages.

Also Read: Govt. Labour Force Report Underestimated Female Participation

Not only this but if the unpaid work of women from all across the world is considered, it is six weeks more than the full-time work done by men. In India, women do 297 minutes of unpaid work as compared to 31 minutes of unpaid work done by men. “Gender parity in the workforce, as estimated by McKinsey Global Institute, could see India boost its GDP by as much US$700 billion by 2025 or 1.4% per year of incremental growth if the FLFPR (female labour force participation rate) is raised by 10% points or 68 million women,” the Oxfam report states.

Moreover, there are poor women who are forced into care work, both for others and for their own homes. “It is estimated that globally, the 3.4 million domestic workers in forced labour are being robbed of $8 billion every year, equating to 60% of their due wages,” the aforementioned report further added.

Does Care Work Further Gender Inequality?

Women have to do unpaid care work, no matter what, but men participate in household chores in accordance with their convenience. So women look for jobs that they can possibly handle with their household work. This even leads to a number of women dropping out of the workforce and hence furthering the plague of gender inequality.

Positive Indication In the Economic Survey

However, for women in education, the figures almost doubled since 2004-05. 30.3 per cent of young women in the age group of 15-29 years attended educational institutes in 2017-2018. Even at this stage, it is less than men, who, 38.5 per cent of whom attended the educational institutions.

Also Read: India Ranks 95 Out Of 129 Countries In New Global Gender Equality Index