Women in the labour force 23 9-2004

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Indian Women in the Labour Force


Dr. Vibhuti Patel
Reader, Centre for Women’s Studies
Department of Economics,
University of Mumbai, Kalina,
Santacruz (East), Mumbai-400098
E mail-vibhuti@vsnl.net Ph®-6770227
Ph(W)-6527956,57Ext.553,Fax-6528198
Statistical Profile of Women
• Women constitute ½ of the world’s population, 2/3 of the world’s labour force but get 1/10th of the world’s income and 1% of the world’s Wealth.
• As per 2001 Census, 23% of women are in the work force. 94% of all working women are in the informal sector.

Work participation rate
Major Findings of Time use Survey
– “Women carry a disproportionately greater burden of work than men and since women are responsible for a greater share of non-SNA
( system of National Accounts) work in the care economy , they enter labour market already overburdened with work.” Report of Gender Diagnosis and Budgeting in India of National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, NIPFP. December, 2001.
WORK PARTICIPATION RATES 1991
The Female Economic Activity Rate (FEAR)
Census of India, 2001, Series 1

Distribution of Women Employees Across Industries
Women in the organized Sector
Women constitute only 14% of the total employment in the organized sector. It is concentrated in Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Tamilnadu.
In the urban areas, FEAR in tertiary sector has increased, from 37.6 % in 1983 to 52.9 % in 1999. (Economic Survey, 2002, GOI).
Here, women workers and employees get relatively better wages, standard working hours, and the protection of labour laws.

Women in the Informal Sector
Factors Affecting Women’s Labour Force Participation
• Changes in age-structure, urbanisation, level & nature of economic development, infrastructure, government policies, labour laws, nature of work, structure of family, culture & tradition affecting autonomy and control, fertility levels and childbearing practices, nature of housework,women’s property rights, education, age at marriage, migration, access to technology.
Segmentation in the labour market
• Nature of wage differentials (WD)-for identical tasks women are paid less. And women are confined to relatively inferior tasks, casual work.
• Causes of WD-patriarchal attitude, myths
• Effects of WD- subordination of women, son preference, man is treated as a “bread winner”- Head of the Household (HoH)
Affirmative Action to remove
Wage Differential
*Legislative measures
*Equal Remuneration Act
*Formation of women’s union
*Constitutional guarantees
*Job reservation for women
*Self Help Groups(SHGs)
Demands of the Women’s Groups
Labour Legislations
Special Facilities for Women
Women and Trade Unions(T.U.)
Women’s Action Plan for T.U.s
Role of Human Rights Organisations
Women and Development Debate
Development Alternatives With Women
Human Development With Distributive Justice
Implications of Development Process on Women
Use of conservative ideology to retrench and lay off women
Women’s Challenges to the T.U.s
Role of the UN System-ILO, UNICEF

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  • 1. Women in the Labour Force Dr Vibhuti Patel, Reader, Centre for Wo men’s Studies , Department of Economics, Univesity of Mumbai, Kalina, Santacruz(E), Mumbai-400098. Phone-26527956,57,Ext.553, Resi-26770227 Fax- 26528198 E mail- [email_address] Member Secretary, Women Development Cell University of Mumbai
  • 2. Statistical Profile of Women
    • Women constitute ½ of the world’s population, 2/3 of the world’s labour force but get 1/10 th of the world’s income and 1% of the world’s Wealth.
    • As per 2001 Census, 23% of women are in the work force. 94% of all working women are in the informal sector.
  • 3. Work participation rate
  • 4. Major Findings of Time use Survey
      • “ Women carry a disproportionately greater burden of work than men and since women are responsible for a greater share of non-SNA
      • ( system of National Accounts) work in the care economy , they enter labour market already overburdened with work.” Report of Gender Diagnosis and Budgeting in India of National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, NIPFP. December, 2001.
  • 5. WORK PARTICIPATION RATES 1991 The Female Economic Activity Rate (FEAR)
    • Census of India, 2001, Series 1
    09.19 48.92 URBAN 26.79 52.58 RURAL 22.27 51.61 TOTAL FEMALES MALES RURAL/ URBAN
  • 6. U shaped Relationship Between FWPR & Economic Development
    • Economic theory states that historically there has been a U-shaped relationship between women’s labour force participation (WLFP) and Economic Development. For very poor countries, WLFP is high and women work mainly in the farm or non-farm family enterprises. Development initially moves women out of the labour force because of rise in male market opportunities and prejudice against blue collar work. With further development, with high rate of women’s education, WLFP once rises in white collar jobs.
  • 7. 55.6 Community, social & personnel services sectors 51 Plantation 6 Mines 14 Factories 4.9 Finance,insurance,real estate & business 9.8 Agriculture & Allied Occupation 21.4 Manufacturing % Distribution of Women Across Industry
  • 8. Women in the organized Sector
      • Women constitute only 14% of the total employment in the organized sector. It is concentrated in Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Tamilnadu. In the urban areas, FEAR in tertiary sector has increased, from 37.6 % in 1983 to 52.9 % in 1999. (Economic Survey, 2002, GOI). Here, women workers and employees get relatively better wages, standard working hours, and the protection of labour laws.
  • 9. Women in the Informal Sector 94% of women workers are in the informal sector.There is pronounced declining trend in the importance of the self employed women in both, rural and urban areas. Erosion of credit/ loan facilities due to structural adjustment programme is a major reason for women being weeded out of the market. Safety net of social sector budget is also weak. Women workers in the informal sector are governed by the law of jungle.
  • 10. Factors Affecting Women’s Labour Force Participation
    • Changes in age-structure, urbanisation, level & nature of economic development, infrastructure, government policies, labour laws, nature of work,structure of family, culture & tradition affecting autonomy and control,fertility levels and childbearing practices, nature of housework,women’s property rights, education, age at marriage, migration, access to technology.
  • 11. Segmentation in the labour market
    • Nature of wage differentials (WD)-for identical tasks women are paid less. And women are confined to relatively inferior tasks, casual work.
    • Causes of WD-patriarchal attitude, myths
    • Effects of WD- subordination of women, son preference, man is treated as a “bread winner”- Head of the Household (HoH)
  • 12. Affirmative Action to remove Wage Differential
        • * Legislative measures
        • *Equal Remuneration Act
        • *Formation of women’s union
        • *Constitutional guarantees
        • *Job reservation for women
        • *Self Help Groups(SHGs
  • 13. Demands of the Women’s Groups
    • For forest dwellers, a comprehensive Minor Forest Produce Workers Act which regulates their work condition and provides social security and accident compensation to the forest workers.
    • Sexual Harassment at Workplace act- Any covert or overt sexual behaviour, lewd remarks, physical advances against a woman employee by her male colleague/ boss .
  • 14. Labour Legislations Legal Services Act, 1987 Child Labour (P&R) Act,1986 Migration Workers’ Act,76 Equal Remune- ration Act,’76 Bonded Labour Act, 1976 The Contract Labour Act, ’70 Bidi & Cigar Workers Act,’96 Plantation Labour Act,’51 Maternity Benefits Act,’61 The Factories Act, 1948 The Minimum Wages Act, 1948 Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1932.
  • 15. Special Facilities for Women * Special buses and trains for working women *Part time work, Flexi time *Prohibition of Night work *Maternity benefits and day care centres *Occupational health & Safety *Women’s cooperatives, Self employed women *Female headed households, right to housing *working women’s hostels at district/ tehsil levels
  • 16. Women and Trade Unions(T.U.) * Declining participation of women in the male dominated Trade Unions *Women’s cells/crocuses being formed in the progressive unions *Inter-union rivalry- violence *Subculture of T.U.-language, habits *Attitude of the state- police,administration, courts *Attitude and reaction of the family
  • 17. Women’s Action Plan for T.U.s
    • Food security, safe and cheap transport
    • Safety net to deal with SAP & Globalisation
    • Multicultural Outlook to counter casteism, communalism ethnicism and racism
    • Formation of Special Interest Groups- young working mothers, study circles, career guidance, therapeutic sessions., circulating library, speak out centres and cultural activities.
    • Alternatives provided by SEWA, Annapurna
  • 18. Role of Human Rights Organisations
          • Implementation of statutory provision
        • Guaranteeing state stipulated minimum wages
            • Reduction in military budget
          • Environmental issues- fuel,fodder, water
        • Land rights of agrarian and tribal women
          • Public education/ awareness generation
  • 19. Women and Development Debate Conventional indicators of DEVELOPMENT are economic growth, rise in national & per capita income and GDP, rapid pace of urbanisation, high mobility of labour & capital, expansion of industrial base, agrarian growth and growth of foreign trade. This thinking has been challenged by gender economists as this indicators have not taken into consideration just distribution of resources, opprtunities and material wellbeing to majority of human beings, especially women.
  • 20. Development Alternatives With Women Women in Development-awareness about marginalisation of women, Towards Equality Report, The UN Charter, 1975.Equality, Deve, Peace Women & Development- integration of women in the mainstream through Education, health and economic development of women- NPP, GOI. Gender & Development- bending the existing power structure in favour of women thru’ empowerment of women in apex bodies of decision making. CEDAW
  • 21. Human Development With Distributive Justice Main indicators of human development are educational achievements, income, health profile and human rights. Human Development Report, 2001 has provided development radars comprising of 8 indicators- indices of poverty, per capita consumption expenditure, life expectancy at age one, infant mortality rates, intensity of formal education, literacy rates, access to safe drinking water, proportion of households with pucca houses. What about declining sex- ratio ?
  • 22. Implications of Development Process on Women * Women don’t have control over resources in the subsistance sector. *Women work for more hours & in return get less wages. *Land reforms have taken away land rights of women as the titles were made in the name of men. *Girl Child labour are extremely vulnerable. *Absence of socvial services for women workers increases women’s plight at the time of pregnancy, old age, illness and destitution.
  • 23. Use of conservative ideology to retrench and lay off women Women become major victims of rationalisation, mechanisation and automation. When structural changes take place, women are not selected for skill upgradation, if they don’t assert collectively. But, new international division of labour has changed this dynamics as the focus is on induction of young, moderately educated girls who would do minute and monotonous with concentration and dexterity.e.g. pharmaceuticals, computers, electronic, garments.
  • 24. Women’s Challenges to the T.U.s Patriarchal structure of trade unions- Prejudice of male leaders- Women being treated as an auxiliary labour force that can be hired last at the time of economic expansion & fired first at the time of economic recession- Division of labour within Unions-Men as leaders and Women as supporters- Time & Place of Union meetings-Women’s role in collective bargaining & reflection of women’s aspirations and demands in the charter of demands- communal and casteist biases within T.U.Workers Education Programmes- CHILD LABOUR ?
  • 25. Role of the UN System-ILO, UNICEF International Labour Organisation Standardisation of work hours Child labour prevention Occupational health and Safety Compensation for displaced population Human rights of ethnic minorities- wages & safety Economic activities for women refugees
  • 26. Thank You