Opinion

Finding jobs for women

Tina Edwin | Updated on March 22, 2018

It means allowing free rein to their skills

Studies reveal that tailoring is the top choice for vocational training among girls in the 15-19 years age-group, particularly among the married. Tailoring and embroidery are preferred over computer training and the beauty or grooming business in most States. Adolescent boys, in contrast, prefer computer training or auto mechanics and electrical work. Apart from the obvious gender stereotyping, what is troubling is that only a fraction of those who undergo vocational training manage to find work in the trade of their choice. A recent study by the Population Council revealed that just about a quarter of the girls who underwent training found work in the same trade. In Bihar, that proportion was in single digits.

If more women, especially the younger ones, are to be part of the labour force, they should be able to find work that they are adept at, in a place close to their homes, which is also a safe environment. There is also an urgent need to reverse the steep fall in women’s participation in the labour force — it fell from 43 per cent in 2005-06 to about 31 per cent in 2015-16. Their participation in economic activity as an employee, employer or entrepreneur is vital for economic growth to gather pace.

Given the patterns in vocational training, it may help young women and the economy if the country were to implement a recommendation made by Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramaniam in the Economic Survey 2016-17. He suggested that India should gear the apparels and leather industry for exports like the East Asian economies had done many decades ago to attain rapid growth and create employment. Apparels and leather are more labour-intensive than manufacturing and can create skills-appropriate employment for women.

Senior Deputy Editor

Published on March 22, 2018

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