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Trends, patterns and drivers of rural female workforce participation

Bhattacharya, M. ORCID: and Goyal, A. (2017) Trends, patterns and drivers of rural female workforce participation. Social Change, 47 (4). pp. 526-551. ISSN 0049-0857

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1177/0049085717730236


The empowerment of women is critical for improving their status in society and, in turn, women’s access to economic and financial resources is vital for their empowerment. Despite a discernible improvement in India’s rural economy in recent years, the rural female workforce has been declining. One of the primary reasons is that in rural areas women lack access to land and productive resources which aggravates the problem. The objective of this article is to examine trends, patterns and drivers of female workforce participation in rural India captured through the lens of migration, social and religious factors, land rights, agricultural income, education and wages. The study found that female employment in rural India has been reducing, possibly, for the following reasons: firstly, women tend to work only during distress conditions; secondly, they find working conditions either unsafe or unsuitable; and thirdly, social norms restrict their entry into the job market. The study suggests that improving their access to land and productive resources, providing them decent work opportunities and prioritising their education and skills training will collectively help women in improving their socio-economic status.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
ID Code:90555

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