MUMBAI: Not only have more women lost jobs compared to men during the , but also fewer women are returning to work. The number of women actively looking for work each month reduced by three million between 2019 and 2021, says the latest bulletin from Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy () and Centre for Economic Data and Analysis (CEDA).
CMIE data shows that urban India had 22.1% fewer women employed in 2021 than in 2019. However, while 9.52 million women actively searched for jobs every month in 2019, this declined to only 6.52 million in 2021. This is based on CMIE’s state-wise monthly time-series of employment that goes back to January 2019. This was in contrast with the trend in male workforce, says CMIE data. The number of male workers actively looking for jobs in 2021 was up by 19.7% in urban India and 14.9% in rural India (compared to 2019).
The trend of fewer women seeking a return to work was observed in both urban and rural India. In urban India, only 2.57 million women actively searched for jobs every month in 2021 as compared to 3.87 million in 2019 (a decline of 33.7%), CMIE data showed. In rural India, only 3.95 million women actively looked for jobs in 2021 as compared to 5.16 million in 2020 and 2021 (23.5% less).
A decline in male employment in a quarter saw a comparable increase in the number of men actively looking for jobs. A similar trend not was not seen among women.
Four states saw over 50% decline in average monthly female employment in 2021 than in 2019. These were Tamil Nadu (50.9%), Goa (56%), J&K (61%), and Punjab (57.9%). Except Jharkhand, all eastern Indian states (West Bengal, Odisha, and Chhattisgarh) registered a significant increase in female employment in 2021 over 2020.
Unlike male employment, there was also an urban-rural divide when it came to female employment in the country, the data showed. Average female employment in urban India in 2021 was 6.9% lower than 2020 and 22.1% lower than the pre-pandemic year, 2019. In rural India however, female employment in 2021 was 9.2% higher than 2020 and only 0.1% lower than 2019. Therefore, female employment suffered a significant reversal in urban India since the pandemic.
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