The economic shocks in the form of demonetisation and GST, along with Covid-19 pandemic-induced lockdown, have disproportionately hit the Female Labour Force Participation Rate as women between the age group of 15 to 44 have suffered 52.4 per cent job losses in 2020, experts said.
The experts — including Mahesh Vyas, MD and CEO, Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy Pvt Ltd, and Ravinder Kaur, professor of Sociology and Social Anthropology, IIT, Delhi — were speaking at the two-day online national conference on ‘Women@Work’ organised by the Pune International Centre (PIC) along with Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics (GIPE), Mumbai School of Economics and Public Policy (MSEPP), and India Development Foundation.
The conference was presented by Vijay Kelkar, vice-president, PIC, and Pradeep Apte, Professor Emeritus, Savitribai Phule Pune University.
As per the ‘Consumer Pyramid Household Survey’ conducted by CMIE, in 2019-20, urban female employment rate remained at 7.34 per cent as compared to the 63.68 per cent among male. Rural female employment rate was 9.70 per cent as compared to 68.16 per cent among male.
“There has been a low labour force participation rate among women, according to the statistics, with only 11 per cent women willing to work as compared to 72 per cent men. In November 2019, the urban female employment rate was at 5.55 per cent as compared to male rate at 60.64 per cent, while rural female employment rate was at 8.83 per cent as compared to male rate at 65.34 per cent. The economic shocks like demonetisation and GST earlier had seen lots of women losing their jobs as many small enterprises and micro-companies where women could get work collapsed,” said Vyas.
“To encourage India’s economic growth and social development, we need to put more women at good and recognised jobs. We need to build an egalitarian society where the work ratio of both males and females should be balanced and also need to safeguard against economic shocks,” he added.
Speaking on the issue, Ravinder Kaur said, “Women go missing from the labour force as they get more educated as the study shows that educated women opt to stay home to invest time in their children’s education or for ‘Home Production’… Also, there is a decline in jobs in agriculture due to the shift of the economy from agriculture to other sectors and the lack of suitable jobs.”
The first session on ‘Challenges and Mitigating Strategies’ was chaired by Rajani Gupte, Vice-Chancellor, SIU, Prof Amaresh Dubey from the Centre for Study of Regional Development, School of Social Science, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and A Srija, Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, along with Shrinivas Shirke, Deputy Director, National Statistical Office, Pune.
“The decline in female work participation is across all age groups in rural areas, perceptible increase in the urban areas for the women aged 25 years onwards,” Dubey said.