ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Rosa Abraham

Structural Transformation and the Gender Earnings Gap in India

Much attention has been focused on the exit of women from the workforce during the high growth period post-2004. However, alongside this exit, the same period also saw a rapid increase in the proportion of salaried workers among those women who continued to remain in the workforce. Simultaneously, education levels have risen rapidly for both men and women. In this paper, we examine the long-run changes in the gender earnings gap among salaried workers in India. We draw on five rounds of the National Sample Survey Office quinquennial Employment–Unemployment Surveys and two rounds of the Periodic Labour Force Survey to show that the raw gender earnings gap has narrowed in this period. But most of this is due to a convergence between male and female earnings in the top two deciles of the earnings distribution. At the bottom, where the proportion of women workers has increased most rapidly, the gap remains high and has grown.

An Indian She-cession: Disproportionate Job and Earnings Loss for Young Women in the Labour Market

The COVID-19 pandemic has had severe consequences for the Indian labour market. However, its effects have been experienced differently across ages and genders. Using emerging longitudinal data, we examined who were hit the hardest? We found that young people (versus older adults) and women (versus men) experienced the highest losses in jobs and earnings. Young women, disadvantaged both on account of their age and their gender, suffered the most as compared to all other categories of workers analysed (young men, older men, and older women). These findings have important implications. India is at a demographic juncture, which means it is experiencing a “youth bulge” and has one of the youngest populations in the world. Further, the female labour force participation in India was low and declining even before the pandemic. Enabling young women to engage with the labour market is key to both youth and gender empowerment, and policy needs to urgently focus on pathways that provide meaningful opportunities for post-pandemic recovery.