The role of family aspirations in women leaving the labour force
Efforts at ensuring that children do well are a big reason why educated married women stay home
A mini industry has grown around trying to understand why women’s labour force participation in India has declined continuously from 33.5% in 2004 to 22.3% in 2017, according to National Sample Survey Office data. Of these, married women in the age group of 25-44 years show the largest decline (from 38.8% to 27.8%). Rural women predominantly contribute to this decline (44% to 28%). Overall, educated women’s participation declined across the board—from those with 6 years of education to those with more than 12 years education. The only bright spot is the improvement in urban women’s participation between 2011 and 2017 at all levels of education.