10% More Rural Women Participate In Workforce Than Urban Women In India
The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India, recently released the statistics on male and female participation in all sectors including education and employment. The statistics which are a part of the National Sample Survey (NSS) reports reveal that while there has been a significant increase in the literacy rate for women from 2000-01 to 2011-12, there has been no significant change in the Workforce Participation rate of women from 2000-01 to 2011-12. The report also sheds light on the disparity between workforce participation among rural women and urban women.
The report, as stated in the foreword to it, is expected to raise more awareness about the condition of women and men and provide necessary insights to policy makers to tackle gender-based disparities.
Literacy Rate for Women Increased by 20%
Female literacy rate in 2011 was 57.93%
Literacy rate for females in 2001 was 46.70% in 2001 which increased by 24% to 57.93% in 2011. The literacy rate for females in urban India increased by 8% from 73.20% in 2001 to 79.11% in 2011. The overall increase in the literacy rate for females has been 20%, from 53.67% in 2001 to 64.63% in 2011.
It must be noted here that a person who can read and write a simple message in any language with understanding is considered literate in NSS survey.
The disparity in literacy rates of males and females is lowest in Meghalaya. In Meghalaya, overall male literacy is 76% and female literacy is 72.9%. The highest percentage disparity in male and female literacy is in Rajasthan. In Rajasthan, male literacy rate for 2011 is 79.2%, while female literacy is 27.1 percent points less, that is 52.1%.
Other states where the percent point disparity in literacy rate between male and female is more than 20% are Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Chhattisgarh.
Workforce Participation Rate for Women Lower in Urban India
More rural women are employed than urban women
The Workforce Participation Rate for females has not increased drastically from 2001 to 2011. The difference in the participation rate for men and women is also glaring.
The overall female participation in workforce in rural areas was 31.4% in 2001-02 which reduced to 24.8% in 2011-12. In urban areas, the female participation in workforce was 13.9% in 2001-02 and was recorded as 14.7% in 2011-12.
Workforce Participation Rate is that percentage of working population in the age group 16-64 in the economy who are either employed or are actively looking for employment.
The disparity between workforce participation rate of males and females is humongous. In 2011-12, the male participation in rural areas was 54.3% and female participation was 24.8%. In the same period, the male participation in urban areas was 54.6% and female participation was 14.7%. While, there is no visible difference in workforce participation for males in rural and urban areas, the difference in female participation is 10.1%.
At a time, when women over the world are engaged in debate over their right to equal pay, India needs to keep up in the number of women who participate in the workforce. The anomaly in the women who are engaged in employment in urban and rural India is also an area which needs to be addressed by policy makers.
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