Women participation in agricultural work on decline: Report

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 13 (IANS) Indian women are withdrawing from agricultural work, the Centre for Women’s Development Studies (CWDS) has said in a report.

According to the report, the women’s participation in work has declined overall, but it is mostly from the agricultural sector.

It says that India was ranked 68th out of 83 countries in terms of female participation in work, though it ranked 84th out of 87 countries in 2012.

Probing the low participation of women in work in India, Neetha N., professor at CWDS, New Delhi, presented the study report which noted that the self-employed women in agricultural sector are withdrawing from work majorly and not accepting wage work as well.

“There has been a 10 percent decline in the participation of women in agricultural sector in rural areas,” Neetha told IANS. “Women are not ready to take wage work, which is discouraging. Education cannot absorb all the women.”

The report, discussed during the International Conference on Gender Equality 2015, organised by UN Women and the Kerala government, also found Bangladesh has a much higher women participation rate at 36.1 percent. It was 22.5 percent in 2010.

Neetha claimed the decline occurred at a time when India was experiencing high average annual GDP growth of around 8 percent.

According to the report, the employment status of women in rural areas where most of them are self-employed has decreased from 63.7 percent in 2004-2005 to 59.2 percent in 2011-2012.

Even in urban areas, the data reveals that in 2004-2005, 47.7 percent women participated in self-employed work whereas the figure has gone down to 42.8 percent in 2011-2014.

In the casual workers sector, 16.7 percent women participated in work in 2004-2005. However, only 11.12 percent of them participated in work in 2011-2012.

(This correspondent is in Thiruvananthapuram at the invitation of Kerala government for the International Conference on Gender Equality, 2015, organised with UN Women.)

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