Cross-Identities Have Significant Effects on Women’s Labor Market Participation, Study Finds



According to a working paper published by Initiative for What Works to Advance Women and Girls in the Economy (IWWAGE). According to the newspaper, titled ‘Crossed Identities, Livelihoods and Affirmative Action: How Social Identity Affects Women’s Economic Opportunities in India”, The decline is mainly observed among rural women, especially Adivasis women.

The newspaper said: “There are several explanations put forward for the low level as well as the decline. Part of the problem is the inability of the statistical system to properly account for women’s economic work. Women are involved in economic work in far greater numbers than labor force statistics can show. In addition, the recorded decline concerns paid employment and not women’s reproductive work.

The article was written by Ashwini Deshpande, Professor of Economics at Ashoka University, and is a result of the research vertical of the Initiative for IWWAGE, an initiative of Leaving Evidence for Access and Development (LEAD) at the University of Krea. IWWAGE aims to build on existing research and generate new evidence to inform and facilitate the women’s economic empowerment agenda.

The other important dimension characterizing gender gaps in the labor market concerns pay gaps and discrimination against employers. During the decade that has seen a decline in the participation rate of women, the educational level of women has risen sharply, the document said. He said: “So in 2010, if women were ‘paid like men’, the average salary of women would be higher than that of men. The fact that men earn higher wages / salaries after taking into account wage characteristics reveals significant wage discrimination.

He added: “The intersection between gender and social identities such as caste and tribe indicates that Dalit women, disadvantaged due to caste, poverty and patriarchy, are the worst off in terms of ‘material indicators, as well as autonomy and mobility. indicators.

According to the author, the gender gaps in self-employment are even larger than in paid employment. Policies such as the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) designed to encourage self-employment have had several other positive impacts, such as increased empowerment and self-reliance, but their record in terms of improving resources. subsistence is mixed at best.


India has one of the lowest LFPRs in the world, well below the global average of 50% and the East Asian average of 63%. According to the National Sample Survey (ENS), the estimate of the economically active population at usual status includes (a) people who worked or were available for work for a relatively larger portion of the 365 days preceding the date of employment. survey and b) persons among the rest of the population who worked at least 30 days during the 365-day reference period preceding the date of the survey.

The graph above reveals that first of all, men’s LFPRs for all years are significantly higher than those of women, and the gap between the two has widened over the years. Second, there is no significant difference between rural and urban LFPRs for men; however, for women, rural LFPRs have been higher than urban for all years. Third, while male LFPRs also declined slightly over the period by nearly 10 percentage points for rural men (from nearly 87% to 76.4%) and urban men (80% to 74.5%). %), female LFPRs have experienced a sharp decline, especially in rural areas. Rural women’s LFPRs declined by 25 percentage points (from around 50% to 25%), while urban women’s LFPRs maintained their historically low levels and declined slightly (from around 22% to 20%) .


The document said, “Unlike developed western economies, the gender pay gap in India (similar to China and several other countries) has a sticky floor, not a glass ceiling, that is, that they are higher at the bottom of the wage distribution than at the top. “

He explained that the only reason behind the sticky floor could be statistical discrimination by employers. He said: “In India, social norms place the burden of household responsibilities on women disproportionately. As a result, men are perceived to be more stable in employment than women. Given the higher likelihood of dropping out of the labor market, employers discriminate against women when entering the labor market because they expect future career breaks.

He added that as women move up through the professional structure and gain work experience, employers realize their trustworthiness and hence discriminate less. Men generally have more work experience or seniority than women on average. The newspaper said: “Women who have high levels of education and are at the top of the distribution can be seen to have high levels of engagement and, because of their past investments in education, they are considered as stable employees. “

At the top end of the wage distribution, the nature of jobs is very different from the bottom. Women in these jobs are more likely to be part of the educated urban elite in managerial or other professional positions. These high-paid women are more likely to be aware of their rights and may be in a better position to take action against perceived discrimination, according to the document.

The author presented this in contrast to a situation where an employer pays a regular salary to an uneducated woman working in an elementary occupation, which is a typical example of a worker at the bottom of the wage distribution in the Indian context. The newspaper said: “It is easier for the employer to discriminate in this case, as these jobs are in the informal sector and outside the jurisdiction of labor laws. Women at the bottom of the ladder have less bargaining power than men due to family commitments or social customs and are more likely to be subject to corporate market power. Thus, a sticky floor could arise as anti-discrimination policies are more effective at the top of the distribution. “

He pointed out that occupational segregation is also a known contributor to larger gaps at the bottom of the ladder, as only men and women occupy exclusively “male” and “female” jobs. Low-skilled jobs for women can pay less than other jobs that require heavy physical labor, which men typically do.


The effects of the caste hierarchy are reflected in the differential LFPRs of women, according to the document, so that upper caste women have historically had lower labor market participation than Dalit and Adivasi women because working for a salary was considered a marker of low status. “This is compounded by the fact that taboos on public visibility are more important for upper caste women than for lower caste women,” he said.

Legend – PLFS: Periodic labor force survey

The table above shows that the caste differences in WPRs for men are tiny. The differences in social groups in the LFPR are mainly due to the differences in LFPR women. Examining the decline in terms of overlap between genders and social groups, the researchers found that in rural and urban areas, the LFPRs of ST or adivasi women declined the most, followed by rural Dalit women. Between 2004-05 and 2017-18, the decline in ST women’s LFPR was 19.4 percentage points in rural areas and 7.5 percentage points in urban areas. The corresponding decrease for SC women was 16 and 3, for OBC women 16 and 4, and upper caste women 12 and 1 percentage points, for rural and urban areas, respectively.

The document said: “The landscape of gender disparities as well as the intersectionality between gender and social identity reveals that with the exception of school education, the gaps between men and women, as well as ‘within different social groups within women, are either static or increasing.

He concluded by saying that gender equality in various economic dimensions and the economic empowerment of women remains an important challenge in India. “It is clear that economic growth, whether high or low, is not the main driver of change in gender equality. Evidence for India shows that a variety of policies have an impact on gender equality; therefore, gender needs to be mainstreamed across the policy-making apparatus and not compartmentalized as a secondary priority, ”the document said.


Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.