Karela Fry

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Less women at work

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IBN Live reports:

The government on Monday said that the Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) for women has declined by over six per cent in last five years. In a written reply to Lok Sabha, Labour and Employment Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, said, “As per National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) data, the LFPR for women declined from 29.4 per cent in 2004-05 to 23.3 per cent in 2009-10.”

“One of the major reasons for the decline in LFPR is the education effect,” he said, adding that the World Bank report 2012 has also said that LFPR of women in India has declined during the last five years.

What could the minister mean by the “education effect”? Is it possible that he believes that education leads to lower employability? Or is it the opposite, that he is blaming gender disparty in education for the lower employability of women?

Much more likely is that as job growth stalls, gender differences become more visible. In a rapidly growing economy, if the number of jobs exceeds the number of available people, even marginally, then discrimination is suppressed by the need to have working hands. When jobs grow slower, employers can choose whom to hire. That this is likely to be the reason behind the gender statistics is clear from this report in TOI:

Labour growth has slowed down in both public and private organized sectors, the Economic Survey has revealed. Just 15% of the total labour force has regular salaried jobs. While employment in the public sector grew at just 0.4% between 2010 and 2009 as compared to 0.7% between 2009-2008 , private sector employment grew at 4.5% as compared to 5.1%.

Unfortunately the minister cannot argue that job creation has slowed down. Instead he lets his biases speak.


Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

March 19, 2012 at 5:05 pm

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