GS Paper - 2 (Social Issues)

Discrimination in India causes 100 per cent of employment inequality faced by women in rural areas in the labour market and 98 per cent in urban areas, according to the Oxfam India report. Apart from women, historically oppressed communities such as Dalits and Adivasis, along with religious minorities such as Muslims, also continue to face discrimination in accessing jobs, livelihoods, and agricultural credits, said the India Discrimination Report 2022.

What the report said 

  1. The report said that in rural areas, the sharpest increase of 17 per cent in unemployment was for Muslims compared to non-Muslims during the first quarter of the Covid-19 pandemic making the rural Muslim unemployment rate 31.4 per cent.
  2. Highlighting that women in India, despite their same educational qualifications and work experience, face discrimination as compared to men in the labour market due to societal and employers’ prejudices.
  3. The lower wages for salaried women are due to 67 percent of discrimination and 33 percent due to lack of education and work experience.
  4. Calling on the Indian government to actively enforce effective measures for the protection and right to equal wages and work for all women, Oxfam India said the participation of women should be incentivised in the workforce, including enhancements in pay, upskilling, job reservations and easy return-to-work options after maternity.
  5. Discrimination in the labour market is when people with identical capabilities are treated differently because of their identity or social backgrounds.
  6. There have been minimal attempts to measure the extent of discrimination and its impact on the lives of marginalised communities in India so far.
  7. The findings of the Oxfam report indicate discrimination as a driving factor behind the low Women’s Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) in the country.
  8. The report said LFPR for women in India was only 25.1 per cent in 2020-21 for urban and rural women, which was 42.7 per cent in 2004-05, thus showing the withdrawal of women from the workforce despite rapid economic growth during the same period.
  9. This is considerably lower than Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa as per the latest World Bank estimates.