Critically examine the recent trends in labour force and workforce participation rates of women in India.

Model Answer:
Labour force refers to the number of persons usually employed or willing to be employed. Workforce constitutes the actual employed labour force. The recent trend in India’s employment pattern shows that the in overall, the labour force participation rate for women is falling: from 37% in 2004-05 to 29% in 2009-10 and in 2011-2012, women comprised 24.8% of all rural workers. Women workforce has also decreased from 16.6 per cent in 2004-05 to 13.8 per cent in 2009-10.The percentage of urban woman workforce, though increased to 14.7% in 2011-12, but increase was not satisfactory. The reasons for above decline is the combination of demand and supply side effects, which have played a role in accounting for this stagnation. On the supply side rising male incomes and education have reduced female labor force participation. Second, as the survey noted, there is a rapid increase in female participation in education, both in the rural and urban areas which drives them for white-collar service employment, but service sector in itself does not have much capability to generate mass employment. Manufacturing and construction sector have higher employment generating capacities, but due to social stigmas attached with working in these sectors; women do not work here. Thus, decreasing rural workforce and increasing urban workforce. Further with increasing age increases the family and social responsibilities over women, which forces them to live the job.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Critically examine the recent trends in labour force and workforce participation rates of women in India.

Published: February 7, 2016 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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