THE CASE OF THE DISAPPEARING 65%!Tweet
LET ME tell to you about something I heard last year which scared the wits out of me. According to a National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) 2009-10 survey, only 22.5% of women are part of India’s total workforce across both the organized and unorganized sectors. "What's that got to do with me?" you may well ask. "After all, I’m not exactly a NREGA candidate and I’ve (probably) been lucky enough to be born into a family where I’m guaranteed a visiting card".
Okay then here’s some more statistics from them mentioned in the Times of India in its issue dated Feb 10, 2014. In urban areas, single-income households increased from 53% in 1993-94 to 55% in 2011-12, while multiple-income households declined from 39% to 36%. In rural areas, 54% of households had more than one employed person in 2011-12, down from 66% in 1993-94. Single-income households increased from 31% to 41% in the same period (only people of 15 years age or more were considered for these findings).
Hmm… too wide a sample for you folks (who usually tell me about all the working women they know)? Now here is another set of figures from another survey in 2013. According to the 11th annual Board Games report on corporate governance published by The Globe and Mail, the percentage of Board seats held by women on Boards of Directors in the Indian corporate sector in 2012 was 5.3%. Even when compared with the other BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries at 5.1%, 5.9% and 8.5% respectively, India is still lagging behind when it comes to having women in positions of senior authority in the corporate world.
Too senior, you say? Okay, let's take a step down the ladder. The same study found that the number of women in senior management positions in India was at a measly 14%, while the world average for the percentage of women in senior management roles was 21% in 2012. This was actually a very small increase from the global average of 19% in 2004. In other words, while the world isn’t allowing women into senior positions easily, India’s share is actually decreasing.
In 2012, there were 86 men holding a senior management positions in India for every 14 women. Ouch! I thought we were one of the few countries that never systemically or politically differentiated between the sexes? Heck, I thought we had women running the country during this period!
So, where are the women disappearing and why? After all, the reason this is scary is because half the nation’s population is flowing out of the work force in droves and no one is paying attention. Supposedly, more women are receiving a full education and according to a male employer I’ve spoken with at a top think tank in Delhi, more women than men are entering his ranks every year. Why are they then all disappearing?
The same Times of India article also ran some more expert views. Here is one by Rajni Palriwala, a Professor of Sociology at Delhi University and someone who has done extensive research on women’s employment: "The single biggest driver of the decline of multiple-employed households is that opportunities for women’s work have declined. This includes the dismal state of facilitative measures like day-care centres for children and transport for women."
Evidently, our politicians did notice that something was wrong in the state of... okay, in their states, because they put forward a bill asking for reservations for women politicians? Is it now time to ensure reservations for women in the workplace? Is that what it’s going to take for companies to notice that they’re losing the cheaper elements of their workforce and yet they didn't notice?
To be continued.....