The Influence of Socio-economic Variables on Female Labour Force Participation in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal

Type Working Paper
Title The Influence of Socio-economic Variables on Female Labour Force Participation in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
Nepal, a landlocked country with the area of 147,181 Sq. Km. and the population of
about 26.4 million (CBS, 2012) has been facing declining rate of population growth. The
female population constitutes more than half of the total population. The population is
clearly moving to enjoy “Demographic Dividend” in 2011 from “Young Population” in
2001 with nearly 35 percent under age 15 years and about 57 percent in the ‘working age’
group. National Population and Housing Census (NPHC) 2011 shows that the working
age population in Nepal constitutes significantly higher proportion of female (53.2%
female compared to 46.8% male). However, female labour force participation rate is
lower (80.1%) than those of males (87.5%).(CBS, 2009)
Nepalese women have enormous potential to contribute to the economic development
of the country. In this context, the study of women's participation in the labour force
carries a paramount importance to contribute to policy implications for economic growth.
Women's participation in labour force is conducive to increased family income and hence,
improves women’s social status and their empowerment by making them financially
sound and independent. Women's empowerment is a key element of the agenda for the
development partners to eradicate poverty from the developing countries.
Women of developing countries like Nepal invest a great deal of their time and life in
household activities such as cooking, cleaning, washing, fetching water, collecting
firewood, child-minding, and caring for the sick and the aged (CBS,1999). These crucial
household activities have been conventionally categorized as non-economic activities
because women perform these activities without deriving any cash income or cash profit.
However, the same activities and services are categorized as economic activities if the
women get paid for carrying them out such as by working as domestic helpers in other
people's homes. Such non-income earning household activities, performed mostly by
women in developing countries like Nepal, are driven largely by social and cultural
customs. Although, women in developed countries do a great deal of household work, the
time spent on these activities by these women is substantially reduced especially after the
invention of time-saving and affordable household devices like washing machine, dish
washer, readymade foods. Whereas, in the developing countries, women work longer
hours than their male counterparts due to the prevalence of acute poverty and nonaffordability
of the time-saving such devices, their contributions to the national economy
are largely unrecognised and grossly underestimated.

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