HomeIndiaStory of women workers: Rapid exit from workforce, falling earnings

Story of women workers: Rapid exit from workforce, falling earnings

* The labor force participation rate (LFPR) for women in India, or the proportion of the working age population actively engaged in the labor market, either by working or looking for work, declined from 42.7% in 2004-05 to 25.1 in 2021 % done. “Reflects the withdrawal of women from the workforce despite rapid economic growth during the same period”.

* In 2019-20, 60% of all men aged 15 years and above had a regular salaried or self-employed job; The rate for women was 19%.

* The average earning of men for regular self-employment in urban areas was Rs 15,996. It was less than half that – Rs 6,626 – for women.

* The average income of people belonging to SC or ST communities with regular employment in urban areas was Rs 15,312 in 2019-20, while it was Rs 20,346 for ‘general’ category people.

* 68.3% of Muslims in urban areas faced discrimination in 2019-20 – up from 59.3% in 2004-05.

These are among the findings based on government data on employment and labor from 2004-05 to 2019-20 in the ‘India Discrimination Report’ compiled by NGO Oxfam India and released on Thursday. According to the report, the figures are based on data from the Union Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation.

The report refers to unit level data of the 61st round of the National Sample Survey on Employment-Unemployment (2004-05), the Periodic Labor Force Survey in 2018-19 and 2019-20 and the All India Credit and Investment Survey. hub.

The report noted that discrimination against women is so high that there is hardly any difference between religion or caste-based sub-groups or the rural-urban divide. It said all women, regardless of their socioeconomic status, are “highly discriminated”.

The overall discrimination in wages for people belonging to SC, ST and Muslim communities has declined in regular/salaried jobs, increasing for women over the period from 67.2% in 2004-05 to 2019- 20 out of 75.7%.

As far as bias towards other sections of the population is concerned, discrimination in employment for the Muslim community fell from 31.5% in 2004-5 to 21.9% in 2018-19 and to 3.7% in 2019-2020. For SC/ST employees, discrimination declined from 69.1% in 2004-5 to 34.6% in 2018-19, but increased to 39.3% in 2019-2020.

“We have taken the figures for 2004-05 and then for 2018-19 as there is no comparable data for all the years. More importantly, the discrimination does not usually change from year to year but over time,” said Amitabh Kundu, lead author of the report and co-chair of two labor force surveys being conducted by the Union labor ministry.

Oxfam India was one of the organizations that had to face the recent Income Tax survey. Oxfam said it complies with domestic laws.

“Discrimination in the labor market occurs when people with similar abilities are treated differently because of their identity or social background… What the report found is that if a man and woman starts out on the same level, So the woman will be discriminated in the economic sector where she will lag behind in regular/salaried, casual and self-employed”, said Amitabh Behar, CEO, Oxfam India.

Kundu said: “We have made adjustments carefully. We have focused on three points of ‘endowment’ – education, parent’s education and years of experience. If the result shows a high percentage of the difference in outcome between the two groups due to education level and work experience, one would argue that discrimination is low. However, when the level of education and work experience are the same, and if there is a high difference in outcome, we can confidently say that there is discrimination.”

For the SC/ST community, Kundu said, “Discrimination has declined as endowments such as education or supportive government policies have increased. For the Muslim community, these donations are very low, the level of education is very low and the regular salaried There is limited access to jobs. Therefore, Muslims are largely self-employed in family-owned occupations. They are also a part of specialized jobs such as cobbling or carpentry, where there is no (or little) competition. Hence, discrimination against Muslims less, simply because the endowment is also less.”

For women, however, this is not the case, Kundu said. “We have found that she is discriminated against by employers so she will either not be hired or promoted because of prejudice; social prejudices such as women not being able to work late hours or travel; and family and societal pressures in which women withdraw from the workforce or are not allowed to work,” he said.

“A very large number of women who are not currently in the workforce, have a higher standard of education and have the same charities as their male counterparts,” Kundu said.

The report said: “Gender discrimination in India is structural resulting in great disparity between the earnings of men and women under ‘normal conditions’. This can be estimated from the data for 2004-05, 2018-19 and 2019-20. The earnings gap for casual workers is large, between 50 percent and 70 percent in both rural and urban areas. For regular workers, the range is lower, with men earning between 20 and 60 percent more than women. In the US, the inequality is very high, with men earning 4 to 5 times more than women.”

Apart from women, historically oppressed communities such as Dalits and Adivasis, as well as religious minorities such as Muslims, are facing discrimination in accessing jobs, livelihoods and agricultural credit, the report said. The average earning of self-employed workers for non-SC/ST category in 20-19-20 was Rs 15,878, while it is Rs 10,533 for people from SC or ST background.

The report said that in 2019-20, 15.6% of those over the age of 15 from the Muslim community were engaged in regular salaried jobs, compared to similar jobs for non-Muslims and 23.3% in the locale.

As per the analysis, SC and ST communities in rural India are facing an increase in discrimination in casual employment. Self-employed non-SC/ST employees earn a third more than their counterparts from SC or ST backgrounds, it reported.

Regular, salaried non-Muslims in urban areas earned an average of Rs 20,346 in 2019, 1.5 times more than their Muslim counterparts, who earned Rs 13,672, an Oxfam report. Self-employed non-Muslims earned an average of Rs 15,878 over the same period, while self-employed Muslims got Rs 11,421 despite the higher representation of Muslims in urban self-employment.

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