Women Migration In India

 

Relevancy

  • GS Mains Paper-1, Society

Why in news?

  • Recently a paper titled “Mobility in India, recent trends and issues concerning database” was released.
  • The findings of the paper on women migration call for appropriate government response and policies.

What are the highlights shown in the paper?

  • The paper takes into account the 64th round of the National Sample Survey (NSS).
  • It also takes in figures from the 2011 Census and the National Health and Family Survey (NFHS) IV.
  • As per NFHS IV, women aged 20-24 married before the age of 18 has gone down from 47% in 2005-06 to 27% in 2015-16.
  • Also, women aged 15-19 already mothers or pregnant at the survey time has become half from the 16% in 2005-06.
  • The paper highlights that the number of women migrating within India is increasing at a higher rate than men.
  • Marriage continues to play an important role in women migration.
  • But besides this, economic factors such as employment, business and education have gained in importance.
  • It shows a reduced dependence on marriage as the single factor behind women migration.

What are the related concerns in India?

  • Labour participation is the share of those employed or is seeking work relative to the working-age population.
  • India’s female labour participation rate is around 33% at the national level.
  • This is well below the global average of around 50% and East Asia average of around 63%.
  • This is partly due to the missing gender perspective on internal migration policies.
  • Migrants – Around 80% of migrated eligible female graduates choose not to participate in the organised workforce.
  • They are forced to work in construction sites and as household help for low wages.
  • Women migrants remain invisible and discriminated against in the workforce.
  • This is especially more the case with those in lower-end informal sector occupations.
  • Also they don’t have facilities like maternity leave and other such entitlements.
  • Another concern is the lack of access to proper sanitation, with serious health consequences.
  • Migrant women are also more vulnerable to sexual harassment, especially in the hands of agents and contractors.
  • Another persistent issue is the gender pay gap, which is not restricted to lower-end jobs alone.
  • India sees the highest drop in representation of women from junior to middle-level positions.
  • This is unlike several other Asian countries where such a drop occurs from middle- to senior-level positions.
  • This, in turn, impacts the supply line for higher levels.
  • Almost one-third of women employees do not resume work, in the absence of a support system at home for child-caring.

What lies ahead?

  • Government’s role in labour migration laws and policies is significant to sustain the momentum on migration.
  • The government has to ensure a gender-sensitive and rights-based approach in this regard.
  • Securing public spaces for women and creating an enabling infrastructure are essential.
  • Governments have to ensure that they are safe from stranger violence and harassment from employers.
  • Kerala model – Kerala has launched Aawaz, a free health care-cum-insurance scheme for migrant workers.
  • It covers any migrant worker employed in the state, between the ages of 18 and 60.
  • Workers are eligible for free medical treatment worth up to Rs 15,000.
  • Also, an insurance coverage of Rs 200,000 for accidental death is provided.
  • Medical treatment will be available from all government hospitals and also private hospitals empanelled with the scheme.

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