Women Employment in The New Economy: Clouds and Some Sunshine
The last decade has witnessed greater participation of women in the labour market, especially in new arenas of economic activity. While opportunities have increased, traditional biases against women still exist, both while accepting women as workers and while wage setting. This paper explores the gender bias in the new economy in India and examines what part of it can be explained by differences in endowments and what part is due to discrimination. The New Economy has been identified in terms of high growth and high share in total employment in recent times. It is observed that women employment is growing faster than that of men, though the virtue of it is questionable because of lower wage payments. For a large part of the new economy a trade-off is observed between women employment expansion and their wage condition. There also exists an established sector where women have traditionally been accepted and are having stable employment and wage condition. In few sunrise sectors of the new economy women are enjoying both expanding employment and improving wage conditions. Though endowment plays a major role in determining absorption of workers, discrimination against women is also substantial leading to entry barrier. Most of the gender differences in wages are due to discrimination and only a small part is attributable to endowment gaps. This prompts for taking appropriate policies in the form of promotion of skill formation and mobilisation of women worker groups for better bargaining power.
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