Some 50 million rural women have not worked since 2005

The job market crisis stems from the difficulty of the agricultural sector and embedded social stigma hard to overcome. The largest decline is in the 15-59 age group. Since the 2011-2012 period, female participation dropped by 7 per cent.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – A report by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), a Union government department, shows that in India more than 50 million rural women have left the job market, or have not had access to it, since 2005.

Female participation in the job market dropped by 7 per cent since 2011-2012, the report notes, because of the crisis in country’s agricultural sector, with farmers affected by high debt and suicide rates, and political and social factors.

One reason for the drop is the gender bias rural women face in entering the job markets. Another is the growing number of women seeking a higher education who find that their job opportunities are limited in domains traditionally dominated by men.

For this reason, according to the report, many women workers quit as a result of wage disparities and strong male competition.

Scholars believe that the drop in female participation is also a consequence of recent financial shocks, such as demonetisation (which saw 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes removed from circulation).

According to the NSSO’s Periodic Labour Force Survey, the 15-59 age group saw its participation rate drop from 49.4 per cent in 2004-2005 to 35.8 per cent in 2011-2012, and 24.6 per cent in 2017-2018.