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Ahmedabad has lowest percent of regular female workers: Insecure at workplace?

By Our Representative
Is Ahmedabad becoming increasingly conservative when it comes "allowing" womenfolk to work outside the household? It would seem so, if the latest data, released by the Government of India's top data collection centre, National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO), is any indication. Apparently, the economic situation, riddled by lack of service protection and security to women, would have added to aggravating the situation for women workers in Ahmedabad.
Released in May third week, the report, "Employment and Unemployment situation in cities and towns in India", has found that the number of "self-employed" workers as proportion of the total female workforce has gone by from 38.8 per cent to a whopping 68.7 per cent, one of the highest among most major Indian cities, between 2004 and 2012.
The NSSO has used "self-employment" to identify three types of household work -- those who work in "household enterprises as own-account workers", those who are self-employed in "household enterprises as an employer", or those are working in"household enterprises as helper", to quote from the report.
The sharp, nearly 30 per cent rise in household work for women, has taken place, NSSO data suggest, even as women in large numbers may have been pushed out of different types of casual work they would have been working for in Ahmedabad. Women casual workers' percentage of total women workforce went down from 31.3 per cent in 2004 to just 5.3 per cent in 2012, a fall of about 26 per cent.
In fact, the data further suggest that the percentage of "regular" female workers, who are paid salary at regularly, during the period in question remained virtually stagnant -- it was 29.9 per cent in 2004 and 31.1 per cent in 2012, which is almost half that of major Indian cities. Apparently, there was little hope for the casual women workers to enter into regular employment, which would offer them with a regular job with a guaranteed renumberation.
What is even more interesting is that, such sharp shift in favour of "self-employment" has not taken place in most major Indian cities. For instance, the NSSO data show, in Bangalore, the percentage of women who are self-employed has almost remained the same -- 23.9 per cent in 2004 and 23.6 per cent in 2012. But those in regular jobs has remained high 67.2 per cent in 2004 and 73.2 per cent in 2012.
The situation is not very different in Chennai, where self-employed women in 2012 were 23.5 per cent and regular female workers 74.7 per cent. In Delhi, the self-employed women in 2012 were calculated at 21.1 per cent, and regular employees 78.3 per cent. In Mumbai, the respective figures for 2012 were 30.6 per cent self-employed and 67.3 per cent regular workers.
Further, in Hyderabad it was 29.4 per cent self-employed women and 62.0 per cent as regular employees. In Kolkata it was 39.0 per cent self-employed women and 49.4 per cent regular workers. And in Pune, it was 13.9 per cent self-employed women and 73.0 per cent as regular employees.
Low employment in regular jobs in Ahmedabad, NSSO data suggest, has meant poor women's participation in the job market. At 19 per cent of the able bodied women in the age group 15 plus, it is down from 21.4 per cent in 2004. As for males, in sharp contrast, it is 77.2 per cent of the able bodied men in 2012 against 79.5 per cent in 2004.

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