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Participation of women in Indian labor market UPSC NOTE

 Low participation of women in India’s labor market

  • Though there are various explanations such as low human capital, and even discrimination against women.

  • The root cause is patriarchy, which is a social system marked by the supremacy of the father/man in the family, community and society.

  • As Marina Watanabe says, patriarchy is “a social structural phenomenon in which males have the privilege of dominance over females”. 

  • With economic growth and increasing education, the strength of patriarchy has perhaps declined in some ways

  • However, the overall culture of male dominance over women has not changed much in our traditional society.

  • Under patriarchy, men are considered to be the breadwinners and women are expected to be the homemakers

  • That is, women are responsible for household upkeep, and for providing care to the child and those who are old, sick and the disabled in the family. 

  • Even when there is hired help, it is the woman who is responsible for household upkeep and care.

  • Though performed with love, this work of women is inferior work for several reasons

  • This work is unpaid and invisible as time use data are not available on a regular basis in India, and, therefore, not covered under national policies

  • There is no upward mobility, and, therefore, a dead-end job

  • There is no retirement and no pension. 

  • This implies that a significant part of the total labour force available to the economy is locked up in low productivity and inferior kind of work, which is performed mainly by women

  • Women perform this work not necessarily by free choice or by any particular efficiency in this work but because it is largely imposed on women as a social construct. 

  • As this work is outside the purview of economic policies, the drudgery of work, the time stress, technology and low productivity of this type of work and working conditions of workers are outside the purview of policy making. 

  • This is unjust, unfair, and unacceptable.

  • As a result, many women do not enter the labour market due to their high domestic responsibilities

  • When the others enter the labour market, they enter with domestic responsibilities on their shoulders, implying that there is no level playing field for them from the beginning. 

  • Again, they usually have lower human capital (thanks to social norms); restricted mobility due to their domestic responsibilities.

  • Therefore, their choice is gendered in the labour market. 

  • They tend to prefer work that is close to home, part time or flexible work, and which has a safe work environment. 

  • Consequently, they overcrowd in stereotyped low productivity jobs and lag behind men in all average labour market outcomes such as participation, wages, and diversification of work.

  • This is clearly not the optimum use of women labour power in the economy

  • Therefore, women’s participation in the labour market must be raised.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Participation of women in Indian labor market UPSC NOTE
Participation of women in Indian labor market UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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