The Economic Survey of India of the OECD states that there is a huge gap of 52 percentage points between the unemployment rate of men and women in India.
India is counted among the worst countries for working women as compared to other countries. The Economic Survey of India of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a Paris research institute, has found that there is a difference of 52 percentage points in the rate of employment of women and men. India is followed by Turks, where this difference is 37 percent. Sweden and Norway are ranked best in this category with a margin of five percentage points.
This report says that at this time unemployment is quite high among the youth and educated women of urban areas. The report also said that apart from unemployment, poor quality of employment is also included in this. This difference in employment is seen most in the age group of 15 to 29 years. It has been estimated in this report that one crore and ten lakhs of people come to the market every year for jobs and accordingly the rate of employment in the country is seen to be declined.
Non-availability of data –
This report states that the government has failed to release comprehensive data of workers, due to which the influence of policies and their priority is being affected. Family data is collected every five years by the NSSO and it takes more time to publish. This survey report belongs to the year 2017-18 which has been published in the year 2019. The Central govt removed the figures of technical problems in a haphazard manner.
There have also been allegations against the government that they are intentionally hiding data which are showing an increase in unemployment. The Central Government has also stopped many other surveys such as an annual survey of Labor Bureau, a survey of quarterly employment and an annual survey of the industry. This report also suggests that the quality and timely availability of data should be the most important objective of the government.
World Bank data unveils that India lags behind its neighboring countries in women employment as women employment in China, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are 43.5%,34.5%, and 29.3% respectively while women employed in the workforce is only 24.3%.
According to NSSO data, the women unemployment was twice their male counterpart in urban areas. The unemployment rate jumped to 19.8% in 2017-18 from 10.3% in 2011-12 in urban areas while for rural educated women, the unemployment rate jumped to 17.3% in 2017-18 from 9.3% in 2011-12.
Unemployment among educated women is high because of several reasons-
- There are many hurdles imposed by society on women. Late night work is not allowed for women. Many times, an educated woman is denied to do the job after marriage to take care of the family.
- Crime against women is high – As far as security is concerned, women and children are more vulnerable to crimes. Cases of rape, kidnapping, human trafficking, etc are prevalent in society which ultimately limits the freedom and liberty of women. A safe environment is needed to be created in which women can work. Sexual harassment of women at workplace Act,2013 is a step in this direction.
- Skill and Vocational training are required to be provided to youth. It helps them to meet the current requirements of the industry. e.g. Skill India, Stand Up India, Atal Innovation Mission, etc.
- There are some biological concerns that discourage women to join the workforce. Mensuration and Pregnancy are such concerns. Awareness regarding sanitation and health should be spread to every corner of society. Maternity Benefit Amendment Act 2017 increases the maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for the first child and it also directs the employers to avail the “creche facility” at working stations or offices.
- Unequal wages are other matter of concern which discourage women employment to some extent.
Indian constitution under Article 16, 18, 38, 39, 41, 42, 43 and 43(A) encourages women to join the workforce. The Social Security Act 2008 for the unorganized sector is another milestone in the direction of women’s employment.
According to NSSO, a person is educated if he/she has completed school studies at least till the secondary level i.e. 9th or 10th class.
There is much more need to be done on a social, political, educational, economical level. It is very important to reveal the data and to accept the drawbacks. A deep analysis of data is required to examine the loopholes. And many more steps are required to be taken to resolve the issues at the grass-root level. A group of women engaged in a small rural sanitary napkin unit of Hapur recognized their self-worth and declare that it is women who made the universe. There is a long way to go to achieve the goal of “Beti Bachao, Beti padhao”.