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Poverty and young women's employment: Linkages in Kerala

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  • Pradeep Kumar Panda

    (Centre for Development Studies)

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    Abstract

    This paper explores one of the key issues in current research on gender and development: the links between poverty and young women's employment. Specifically, the following questions were addressed, in the context of Kerala: Which young women work for pay and why? To what extent is a woman's household economic status -- especially poverty status -- an important determinant of employment, and to what degree does this relationship differ for married and single women? Data for this study come from a 1997 survey of 530 women aged 18 to 35 in Trivandrum district of Kerala. The analysis provides strong evidence for a U-shaped relationship between household economic status (or class status) and women's current employment status. This is true for the entire sample and for the married women. However, in case of single women, poverty increases the likelihood of paid employment without significant effect at the upper end of the class spectrum. The interplay of economic factors (in terms of household needs and aspirations) and cultural factors (in terms of women's position in the family as unmarried daughters as opposed to wives or daughters-in-law) as determinants of women's employment is important both on the supply side of the labour market and women's ability to obtain employment in an imperfect and almost saturated labour market in the context of Kerala.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum, India in its series Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum Working Papers with number 292.

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    Length: 38 pages
    Date of creation: Feb 1999
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ind:cdswpp:292

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    Postal: Peasanth Nagar, Trivandrum 695 011, Kerala
    Phone: +91 471 2448 881
    Fax: +91 471 2447 137
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    Web page: http://www.cds.edu
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    Related research

    Keywords: women; employment; poverty; households; Kerala;

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    References

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    1. Subbarao, K. & Raney, L., 1993. "Social Gains from Female Education: A Cross-National Study," World Bank - Discussion Papers 194, World Bank.
    2. Steven H. Sandell, 1980. "Job search by unemployed women: Determinants of the asking wage," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 33(3), pages 368-378, April.
    3. Harry J. Holzer, 1987. "Job search by employed and unemployed youth," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 40(4), pages 601-611, July.
    4. Agarwal, Bina, 1994. "Gender and command over property: A critical gap in economic analysis and policy in South Asia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(10), pages 1455-1478, October.
    5. Blau, David M & Robins, Philip K, 1990. "Job Search Outcomes for the Employed and Unemployed," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 637-55, June.
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    Cited by:
    1. Shoba Arun & Thankom Arun, 2002. "ICTs, gender and development: women in software production in Kerala," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(1), pages 39-50.

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