Budget 2018: The Economic Survey tabled yesterday revealed the number of employed women has gone down in the country over the last decade. It stated, “There is a fall of 12.3 per cent in the number of employed women over the last decade. In 2005-06, 36.3 per cent of women were employed, and in 2015-16, this percentage went down to 24 per cent.” The survey that was tabled by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament on Monday also stated that while the education level of women has improved dramatically, it is not in proportion to the development of the country.
In 2005-06, 59.4 per cent women were educated, which has gone up to 72.5 per cent in 2015-16. However, there is a fall in the number of employed women. The Economic Survey stated that women in India have assumed a greater role in domestic decision-making over the last decade, but there has been a drop in the number of employed women, and improved education levels are not in tune with development during the period. It adds that the progress is most notable in women having a say in decision-making in household purchases and visiting family and relatives.
While there is an overall fall in the number of employed women, there has been a growth in the same in the non-manual sector. The survey added that in 2005-06, 18.9 per cent women were employed in non-manual sector, which went up to 28.2 per cent. It said, “Women’s employment has declined over chronological time, and to a much greater extent in development time.”
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While further talking about issues related to female contraception, the survey said, “These outcomes can be disempowering, especially if they are the consequence of restrictions on the reproductive agency. Whether women ‘choose’ or acquiesce in their limited choices are important and deeper questions but beyond the scope of this chapter.”
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In terms of decision-making, around 75 per cent women are involved in making decisions about their own health, 73.4 in decisions about large household purchases, and over 82 per cent decide what they will do with their own earnings.
The findings of the survey show around 54 per cent women agreed that wife-beating was not acceptable, showing that a little less than half of the surveyed women felt beating wives is acceptable.