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Employment levels slump in the past decade, women post dismal decline: NFHS survey

Libza Mannan
3rd Feb 2018
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Thirty-six percent of women were employed in 2005-06, while only 24 percent worked in 2015-16.

According to the National Family Health Survey 2015-2016, employment levels have decreased for both women and men in the past decade. Men were three times more likely employed compared to women during the ten-year period. The survey conducted on men and women of age 15-49 revealed that 24 percent of women aged 15-49 were employed in 2015-2016, compared with 75 percent of men. The occupations have been categorised as professional/technical/administrative/managerial, clerical, sales and services, skilled manual, unskilled manual, agriculture.

Though women employment witnessed a steep fall of 12 percent in the past decade, men employment rate fell from 85 percent to 75 percent in the past decade. However, a slightly higher percentage of employed women (10 percent) than employed men (8 percent) are employed in professional, technical, administrative, or managerial occupations. Eleven percent of women who worked in the past year were self-employed.

The National Family Health Survey 2015-2016 reveals that employment levels have decreased for both women and men in the past decade.

Also, 70 percent of women and 19 percent of men reported that they were not employed in the 12 months preceding the survey.

The report brought to fore that a lower percentage of women than men are currently employed in every state, which includes Jammu & Kashmir (14 percent), and Bihar and Assam (15 percent each) have the lowest percentage of women currently employed. More than one-third of women were currently employed in Manipur (41 percent), Telangana (39 percent), Meghalaya and Mizoram (35 percent each), and Andhra Pradesh (34 percent).

Women and men are most commonly employed as agricultural workers (48 percent of women and 32 percent of men), followed by production workers (21 percent and 32 percent, respectively). A large majority of employed women (81 percent) and men (90 percent) earned cash for their work, but 15 percent of women and eight percent of men did not receive any payment, the survey revealed.

Shifting the focus to employment in urban India, the report highlighted that urban women are most likely to be employed as production workers (30 percent) and service workers (21 percent), while urban men are most likely to be production workers (39 percent) and sales workers (19 percent).

However, women and men are most likely to be agricultural workers (64 percent and 47 percent, respectively) in rural areas.

The report explained that the ‘currently employed’ respondents were employed in the seven days before the survey, including respondents who did not work in the past seven days but who are regularly employed and were absent from work for leave, illness, vacation, or any other such reasons.

A total of 699,686 women aged 15-49, and 112,122 men aged 15-54 were interviewed in the 2015-16 National Family Health Survey.

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