Gender Issues in Vocational Education and Training in India: Imperatives and Challenges

Gender Issues in Vocational Education and Training in India: Imperatives and Challenges

Disha Singh (National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration, India)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8443-8.ch004


The data unveils that India's workforce productivity is lower than that of many other developing countries. At the same time, India is also facing skill gap challenge because of the non-availability of skilled labor force in different sectors. There are very few adequately skilled workers in the employment system. Thus, multiple mismatches emerge, where on one side the sectors like manufacturing, crafts, etc. are desperately looking for skilled workers while on the other side the young job starters cannot find adequate employment. Also, India has a huge informal sector that employs more than 90% of all workers of the labor force and contributes in 60% of the country's economic output. If India is to become a major manufacturing power, then there should be the development of a network which can promote and reward skills and productivity. There should also be equal representation of gender in terms of participation in works and skill development. In 2011, out of a total workforce of 481.7 million, 149.9 million or 31% are women.
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A women’s entry into job market has three distinct reasons. Firstly, after attaining a specific skill or education, she wants to utilize it in her interest in earning money. Secondly, she is forced to join workforce in order to improve better living standards. Thirdly, she is forced to do any job with no or least skills level, due to economic crisis in family or left with no other option for survival than earning for living. Men and women have always worked. In ancient times men use to work outside the home and perform difficult task like hunting, ploughing, fighting etc. whereas women use to take care of home, children, cooking food for others, washing clothes, etc. This is still happening in so many villages in India also a similar structure can be seen in urban cities where women works at home and men outside home. It is generally observed that women work for longer hours than men in total working hours. After working outside home she has to work at home too by contributing in cooking, cleaning, taking care of family etc.

The major difference between their works is that with the inception of concept of earning money, by doing job, for livelihood and basic needs, the work of women becomes invisible as compared to men. Since men work outside home and earn money he is considered as superior in terms of contribution towards family also directly and indirectly towards economy growth. However if we observe the current situation then women are also contributing in earning by joining different job roles.

Gender gaps in employment, conditions of work and in wages operating at three levels combine in intricate ways to produce a vicious circle of gendered discrimination. These are: (a) an absence of societal and household consent to improve the skill development of women; (b) the social condemn of opportunities for wider economic participation; and (c) gender inequity at both the entry point and in terms of upward mobility in employment (Papola and Sharma 1999). Over the past three decades the economic activity rates of women have been rising in most parts of the globe. The general trend of female participation in economic domain is increasing and in some countries women’s participation rates are nearing men’s. With the inception of liberalization new job opportunities opened for women however it has also imposed new burdens and risks upon them.

Globally the participation rate of men and women in labour force aged 15 years and over is declining. In 2018 it was 61.8 percent and down by 1.4 percent over the past decade. The decline in women’s participation rate is slower as compared to that of men, resulting in a trivial tapering of the gender gap. At 48.5 per cent in 2018, women’s global labour force participation rate is 26.5 percentage points below that of men (ILO, 2018). The participation gap is narrowing between men and women in developed and developing countries however it continues to broaden in emerging countries. In northern Africa and Arab states, the women participation rates are low and the unemployment rates are twice high as of men’s. The unemployment rates range between 16.3 and 19.5 percent in 2018 and the gender differences are stronger among young cohorts.

Gender disparities are also found in terms of the relative composition of own-account and contributing family work. Women are largely associated with informal employment in developing countries because higher proportion of women contributes as family workers. Therefore, contributing family workers and own-account workers are defined as members of the informal economy. According to ILO, 2018 Contribution of women’s share in family workers has dropped by 4.6 percent and their share as own account workers has increased by 1.8 percent. The men’s share in both the categories experienced a trivial decline over past decade. “Women are more than twice as likely to be contributing family workers compared to men. This risk is especially large in emerging and developing countries, where these employment categories are a strong indication of informality, poor working conditions and lack of social protection (ILO, 2018a)”.

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