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Business News/ News / India/  Rising salaries of husbands in India encourage women's employment, study finds

Rising salaries of husbands in India encourage women's employment, study finds

Women in India are more likely to seek employment if their husbands' salaries keep rising. The research found that in households where the husband's earnings are high, the probability of the wife being employed is low

Indian job market for Indian womenPremium
Indian job market for Indian women

Women in India are far more likely to seek employment if the salaries of husbands keep rising from 40,000 (approx) per month, a study has found.

A common gender norm is the “male breadwinner" norm, that is, husbands are considered the primary earners with wives contributing to household income only if necessary. However, the study showed that in households where the husband’s earnings are high, the probability of the wife being employed is low. This trend slows down as the husband's income rises in rural India. In the case of urban India, as husband’s earnings keep rising, from approximately 40,000 per month onwards, there is an increased likelihood of wives being employed. 

This could be because such husbands are matched with higher-educated wives who have preferences as well as opportunities to access better-paid work, according to the State of Working India 2023 report by Azim Premji University released this week.

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In another trend, the report highlighted that women seek more formal employment if their mother-in-law has a job. If the mother-in-law was present and employed herself, this is associated with a higher likelihood of women’s participation to the extent of 50% (rural) to 70% (urban) more than households with no mother-in-law present.

As per the study, marriage increases the likelihood of being employed for women in rural Karnataka and Rajasthan. Women experienced a sharp jump in workforce participation from 26% in the year preceding marriage to 49% in the first five years of marriage. This employment was largely as contributing family workers or self-employment in agricultural work, the study added.

For most women in India, decisions around employment are seldom their own but rather made by or in conjunction with household members - parents, spouses, and/or in-laws. Household structures directly and indirectly affect women’s mobility and decisions around employment, it added.

The workforce participation rate for women in India is rising, “but not for the right reasons," wrote the authors, led by Associate Professor Amit Basole. “Even two years after the 2020 lockdown, self-employment earnings were only 85% of what they were in the April-June 2019 quarter," the report said. The study also pointed that Indian women suffered disproportionately in terms of jobs losses and wages during the Covid pandemic.

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Mansi Jaswal
I write about gender-related issues, women's rights, women empowerment, gender equality, women's health topics, and their wealth management. Also, profiling women who have fought all odds to make their own identities in their own rights. Before Mint, I worked at Business Today and Business Standard. I studied journalism at IIMC, Delhi. Got a story idea? Email me at mansi.jaswal@htdigital.in
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Published: 25 Sep 2023, 12:40 PM IST
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