The Periodic Labour Force Survey by National Statistical Organisation finds that women in India are entering the organised workforce – but this only makes up 27 percent of the country’s female population.
In the past four quarters, salary-earning women employees have recorded an increase of 2.1 percent while the same for men have risen by 1.5 percent.
Overall regular wage earners and salaried employees increased by 1.7 percent – from 48.3 percent in April-June 2018 to 50 percent in January-March 2019.
The PLFS report gives quarterly estimates on the labour market, with indicators like gender, caste, and education.
It is evident that women are increasingly opting for salaried jobs in the last couple of years. While in 2004, 35.6 percent of all the women workforce were in the regular salaried jobs, it had increased to 52.1 percent by 2017.
Holding on to their jobs
However, the survey also revealed higher unemployment rate among women and a poor labour force participation. But this has been a cause of concern for long, with India scoring lowest in terms of labour participation force.
In 2012, the World Bank stated that only 27 percent of adult Indian women were employed, or were actively looking for a job, as opposed to 79 percent of men.
What is more terrifying is that nearly 20 million women left the workforce between 2005 and 2012.
In turn, more women are engaging in casual work and self-employment.The underlying reason lack of women’s participation in the labour force, however, could be the unfair gender pay gap that has remained a harsh reality for women across the world.
Gender pay gap in India is the widest in Asia, according a report by Oxfam. For the same amount of work and educational qualifications, women are paid 34 percent less than men. This, and other factors such as unpaid care work and backward cultural norms, holds women behind economically.