Special Correspondent

Rural women are more in workforce

  • Increase observed during past three decades
  • But substantially low compared to men

    NEW DELHI: The work participation rate for women has increased during the past three decades.

    According to the Registrar General of India, it was 25.68 per cent in 2001, up from 19.67 per cent in 1981 and 22.73 per cent in 1991. Notably, women from rural areas are more in the workforce than urban women.

    In 2001, the work participation rate for women in rural areas was 30.98 per cent and in urban areas 11.55 per cent. In rural areas women are mainly cultivators and agricultural labourers. In the urban areas, almost 80 per cent of the women workers are in the unorganised sectors such as household industry, petty trades and services, and building and construction.

    Women constituted 18.4 per cent of the total organised sector employment in the country in 2003, up from 18.1 per cent the previous year. As on March 31, 2003 there were about 49.68 lakh women employed in the community, social and personal services sector.

    Plantations and factories were also important employers of women. But women accounted for only five per cent of the workforce in the mines sector.

    Despite the improvement in work participation rate for women, it continues to be substantially low compared to men. In 2001 it was 51.93 per cent for men, more than double for women.