Over 50% Indian women labour on without being paid


Labourers try to keep warm on a building site in Greater Noida, Greater Noida, India. Over 51 per cent of work done by women in India is unpaid and not counted in national statistics, with some estimates even putting this proportion at 85-92 per cent, says a report by the high-level panel set up by the UN Secretary General. It called for greater government, business and civil society partnership to meet the Sustainable Development Agenda by 2030. “Hundreds of millions of women work informally without social and labour protection in law or in practice. In India, for example, some 120 million women (around 95 per cent of women in paid work) work informally.
“Expanding opportunities for women in informal work is integral to realising the SDGs,” says the global report ‘Leave No One Behind’, released here on Tuesday. Mentioning the 22 per cent decline in female labour participation rate in India, the report called for concerted action by all stakeholders to remove systemic constraints, such as adverse social norms, gaps in legal protection, failure to recognise and redistribute unpaid work as well as gender gaps in digital access. “If women are made equal in the labour force, India’s GDP will go up by 60 per cent and world GDP by 20 per cent,” said Renana Jhabvala (SEWA), citing a McKinsey report, adding that this was the “first time that women were being seen as economic actors”.

Child Labor Rising Sharply in India’s Cities

A ragpicker boy searches recyclable material at a garbage dumping site on the outskirts of Gauhati, Assam state, India.  
Urban India is employing an increasing number of children — many under 9 years old — in producing everything from pickles to fireworks, working in tourism and laboring on building sites, a U.N. children’s agency report and campaigners said. The State of Child Workers in India report by UNICEF, based on the latest Indian census data, says the proportion of child workers in the 5-to-9-year age group jumped to 24.8 percent in 2011 from 14.6 percent in 2001. The same decade also saw an increase in urban child laborers to 2.9 percent of the child population, up from 2.1 percent. While across India there was a drop in child workers, to 3.9 percent in 2011 from 5 percent in 2001, campaigners say the problem could be much bigger, with data failing to capture the extent of child labor in the home.