Women Workers in India: Unemployment and Underemployment

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WOMEN WORKERS IN INDIA IN THE 21ST CENTURY – UNEMPLOYMENT AND UNDEREMPLOYMENT THE GLOBAL ECONOMY has created a flexible labour market and the myth of ‘feminization of work’, in reality; it has led to unemployment and underemployment of women in India. One study puts female unemployment at six to seven times that of men. In the rural areas, 30 lakh women have lost jobs in agriculture and livestock. Women have lost 1, 45,000 jobs in the textiles sector during 1994-2000. Female underemployment is also increasing at a faster rate than for men. This article will concentrate on some aspects of women workers outside of the agriculture sector. India has 397 million workers out of which 123.9 million are women. 106 million of these…show more content…
Women are the main work force of both the handloom and powerloom sectors. In Nammakal district in Tamil Nadu the powerloom industry employs lakhs of workers. These industries are run by powerful rural landlords. They maintain strong feudal links on the one hand and at the same time powerful business links with the global market. Hundreds of sweat houses are fitted with ten to hundred looms each. The working day is 12 hours with two shifts. The workers live in adjacent sheds. The working conditions are dreadful with workers earning Rs 500 a week on piece rate system. Most of the workers are bonded with the owner by the advance they received. Women workers face other challenges with the Government of Tamil Nadu barring several lakh ration card holders from getting rations. In addition there have been attacks on the impoverished by way of hikes in electricity prices and school fees. Tirupur, a small town in Tamil Nadu is the largest export center for knit wear production in India accounting for 20% of direct exports and 50% of all exports if re-exported sales to the big cities in India are included. Neetha’s study shows that the mills in the early phase 1925-70 were employing only male workers. In the next phase between 1970-85 production started to get more fragmented. Production facilities moved to Tirupur from Calcutta after a series of strikes. This period witnessed the decline of the local handloom industry leaving many
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