Gender dimensions: Employment trends in India 1993-94 to 1999-00

Type Working Paper - Centre for Women's Development Studies Occasional Paper
Title Gender dimensions: Employment trends in India 1993-94 to 1999-00
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2011
The recently released Key Indicators of Employment and Unemployment in India 2009-10 (NSSO, 2011) shows that the disturbing trend of a steep fall in female work participation rates that had appeared in 2007-08 has continued. With the increase in the male workforce by 22.3 million between 2004-05 and 2009-10 being virtually cancelled out by the reduction in the female workforce by more than 21 million, the need to understand the gender dimensions of
employment trends in India has acquired a new urgency. This paper examines some of the explicit as well as not so explicit trends in relation to women’s employment in India from 1993-94 till 2009-10 and argues that they indicate a
grave and continuing crisis in women’s employment under liberalization led growth. Trends in the distribution of male and female workers by employment status and broad industry for the same period are also outlined. The paper shows how specific attention to unpaid work in the NSS data can overturn standard assumptions regarding women’s employment, and indeed has relevance for more general discussions on employment growth in India. It argues that the time has come to constantly and explicitly make a clearer distinction between income earning/paid employment and unpaid work in the analysis of employment trends.

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