LFPR for Indian women low due to gender inequality: Oxfam report

The findings of the Oxfam ''India Discrimination Report 2022'' indicate towards discrimination being a driving factor behind the low women's Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) in the country.
Representative image
Representative imageReuters

NEW DELHI: Discrimination accounts for 100 per cent of the employment inequality women face in the labour market in rural areas and 98 per cent in urban areas, according to a new Oxfam India report.

The findings of the Oxfam ''India Discrimination Report 2022'' indicate towards discrimination being a driving factor behind the low women's Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) in the country.

According to the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), the LFPR for women in India was only 25.1 per cent in 2020-21 in both urban and rural areas. This is considerably lower than Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa, according to the latest World Bank estimates. The LFPR for women in South Africa was 46 per cent in 2021, the report said.

The LFPR for women in India has rapidly declined from 42.7 per cent in 2004-05 to a mere 25.1 per cent in 2021, showing the withdrawal of women from the workforce despite a rapid economic growth in the period.

In 2019-20, 60 per cent of all males aged 15 years and above had regular salaried and self-employed jobs, while 19 per cent of all similarly-aged females had regular and self-employment.

There is also a significant gap in the earnings between men and women in the case of regular and self-employment in urban areas.

The average monthly earning is Rs 15,996 for men and merely Rs 6,626 for women in urban areas in self-employment. ''The men's average earning is nearly 2.5 times that of the earnings of women,'' the report said.

Professor Amitabh Kundu, one of the authors of the India Discrimination Report, said, ''There have not been many attempts to quantify the discrimination faced by marginalised communities across the country. We have used a statistical method called 'decomposition' to understand differential outcomes in employment, wages, health and access to agricultural credit among various social groups. This has helped us to quantify the discrimination faced by marginalised communities from 2004-05 to 2019-20.''

The findings of the report are unique and this will help the policy makers of the Union and state governments to design programmatic interventions that will tackle discrimination and bring inclusivity in the labour, capital and endowment markets,'' he added.

Oxfam India recommended active enforcement of effective measures for the implementation of the right to equal wages and work for all women in the country.

''Work to actively incentivise the participation of women in the workforce, including enhancements in pay, upskilling, job reservations and easy return-to-work options after maternity,'' another recommendation said.

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