Urban Female Labor Force Participation and Its Correlates: A Comparative Study of Slum-Dwellers and Their Urban Counterparts of Three Metro Cities in India
35 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2020
Date Written: January 31, 2020
This paper deals with an important but neglected aspect of female labor force participation (LFP) in urban India. Contemporary literature that deals with urban female LFP in India typically focuses on the entire urban sector, and invariably misses out one important aspect of urban living – the slums and its dwellers. This study attempts to fill that critical gap by examining two different household surveys side-by-side: a primary survey particularly focused on households living in slums and slum-rehabilitated colonies and the nationally representative Indian Human Development survey-II. It brings outs a comparative picture of nature, type jobs that women take up and various correlates of female LFP from both slum- and non-slum areas of three metro cities of India, viz. Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. It further explores the similarities and differences of the correlates for female LFP among the slum-clusters of these cities. It is found that despite being poorer and marginalized in many ways the slum dwelling women’s work participation rate is not extra-ordinarily high compared to their non-slum urban counterparts. In slums, a higher percentage of women are engaged in self-employment (including family business) and casual employments (includes domestic helps), whereas in non-slum areas somewhat more women are engaged in regular salaried jobs. Analysis identifies correlates that have similar effects across slum and non-slum areas – relationship between education and FLFP reflects a flat-bottom J-shaped pattern; being married, higher child dependency ratio and household heads with higher education significantly constrain women’s work choice; strong income effect of other household members earning on FLFP, but asset holding has no bearing. However, there are other factors that affect FLFP differently in slums and non-slum areas. These findings help us drawing important policy prescriptions.
Keywords: Female labor force participation, Correlates, Urban Slum and Non-slum, Metro Cities, India
JEL Classification: D1, J2, B54, J13, J16, J22, J24, Z13
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