Why higher education doesn’t ensure better jobs for women in India

GenderAnd Business: What's the correlation between higher education and jobs for women? Here's what the numbers say

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: June 5, 2017 1:50 pm
Gender, women jobs, india women workforce, india jobs, business, labour market, india unemployment rate, GenderAnd Business: Here’s what the numbers say about women and jobs in India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan ‘Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao’ means education is the key to women empowerment.  It is assumed that higher education for women leads to jobs and financial empowerment for women. We break down the numbers to assess why access to higher education for women does not necessarily lead to more jobs for women.

1. First, the good news:

Access to higher education for young women has increased by seven per cent in India.

Gender, women jobs, india women workforce, india jobs, business, labour market, india unemployment rate,

2. Out of 33.3 million enrolments in higher education In India in 2014-15, 17.9 million were male and 15.4 million were female.

Gender, women jobs, india women workforce, india jobs, business, labour market, india unemployment rate,

3. Yet, the disparity between the number of male and female students still remains wide. For every 1,000 men who never get access to education, there are 1,403 women who do not. That is almost one and a half times more women out of college than men.

Gender, women jobs, india women workforce, india jobs, business, labour market, india unemployment rate,

4. Which is why, inspite of more women accessing higher education, India’s Female Labour Force Participation (FLFP) has dropped by eight per cent in the last decade and a half.

Gender, women jobs, india women workforce, india jobs, business, labour market, india unemployment rate,

5. India is way lower than the global average when it comes to female labour force participation: ILO (2013) ranks India’s FLFP rate as 121 out of 131 countries, one of the lowest in the world. In 2013, India had the lowest FLFP rate in South Asia, with the exception of Pakistan. Globally, only parts of the Arab world held a lower FLFP rates than India in the same year.

 

Gender, women jobs, india women workforce, india jobs, business, labour market, india unemployment rate,

Four reasons for the fall in female labour force participation in India despite access to higher education are the following:

1. Increasing age leads to higher drop outs

Numbers suggest that women drop out from higher education as their age increases.
Gender, women jobs, india women workforce, india jobs, business, labour market, india unemployment rate,

2. Less enrolment in professional courses — 38 percent of all women are enrolled in humanities courses.
The highest concentration of women is seen among undergraduates. Humanities and education are seen as safe choices and makes them more marriageable. So even when women are educated, the number of men who get trained in professional courses is way above women.

Gender, women jobs, india women workforce, india jobs, business, labour market, india unemployment rate,

3. Marriage:
According to the World Bank study, one of the key reasons that affect presence of women in jobs market is marriage.

Gender, women jobs, india women workforce, india jobs, business, labour market, india unemployment rate,

Klasen and Peters (2013), academic research paper, argues that illiterate women and women with very low levels of education tend to participate more in the labour market, while women with intermediate levels of education seem to withdraw from the labour market. Women with very high levels of education do enter the labour market in order to seek better paid work. According to the report, in rural areas, the female labour force participation rate of married women was more than unmarried women. In urban areas, participation rates of unmarried women were higher than that of married women. The distribution of working age women by marital status suggests that the share of currently married women is higher in rural areas (at 71.2 per cent in 2011-12) than in urban areas (66.6 per cent in the same year)

Gender, women jobs, india women workforce, india jobs, business, labour market, india unemployment rate,

4. Unfair working conditions and skewed opportunities

Possessing secondary and higher secondary levels of education were not found to be an incentive for women to participate in the labour market in India .The lowest incidence of FLFP rates is among those who had attained secondary and post-secondary (10+2) levels of education, followed by those with levels of education below the secondary level, across years in both rural and urban areas. The FLFP rate is highest among illiterates and college graduates in both areas.

Gender, women jobs, india women workforce, india jobs, business, labour market, india unemployment rate,

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  1. S
    Satya Pal Bindra
    Jun 14, 2017 at 11:55 am
    UNCSD LNYLC Dihya IBEC LifeCare supports urges need to meet International Agreement Global Goal 5 on gender equality.
    Reply
  2. S
    Sudheendra
    Jun 13, 2017 at 2:11 pm
    According to me, marriage is the most disruptive event in a female's career. It uproots her from her family to a new set of people which anyway puts her in a new environment and she has to almost start living again. Focus drifts away from the job and could potentially lead to reduced performance and affect career growth.
    Reply
  3. M
    Murti
    Jun 6, 2017 at 3:07 pm
    This study proves yet again that despite progress in education infrastructure and access, women are still strugg with social restrictions, unfair working conditions, skewed opportunities, lower wages and of course the gl cei . Marriage and the care giver status is an end of the road for many women, even highly educated women, and they are forced to give up career opportunities and economic independence. Unless we bring about a significant change in the social mindset, as the Voice of Women Initiative is doing, by encouraging women to claim their rightful place of respect and opportunity, the scales will continue to be loaded against women. Also important is to sensitize men towards according women their equal space of dignity, respect, and work opportunities.
    Reply
  4. P
    pradeep
    Jun 6, 2017 at 1:40 am
    We are loosing what could be brilliant doctors as girls mug up books after books and get through medical exams.And after that it is only marriage or work of midwives. Sheer waste. We should immediately cap at 20 jfor girls stan and many countries are doing it.
    Reply
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    Jun 5, 2017 at 11:38 pm
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    RR
    Jun 5, 2017 at 5:44 pm
    Forget Women and Higher education, the way present govt is acting, it has made education itself irrelevant. Just c how Modi has converted the top research organization of India, CSIR, into a cash stripped organization where scientists and researchers ahve been forced to quit or sit without projects just becuase of poor funding by govt. This govt is worst for education and research. U become some gorakshak or seller or parchoon store master or any baniya and you will benefit better. Modi has ensured that Gujarat Model of uselessness of education prevails all over India!
    Reply
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    Jun 5, 2017 at 3:15 pm
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