The unorganised sector, covers most of the rural labour and a substantial part of urban labour. lt includes activities carried out by small and family enterprises, partly or wholly with family labour. In this sector wage-paid labour is largely non-unionised due to casual and seasonal nature of employment and scattered location of enterprises. This sector is marked by low incomes, unstable and irregular employment, and lack of protection either from legislation or trade unions. The unorganised sector uses mainly labour intensive and indigenous technology. The workers in unorganised sector, are so scattered that the implementation of the Legislation is very inadequate and ineffective. There are hardly any unions in this sector to act as watch-dogs. But the contributions made by the unorganised sector to the national income, is very substantial as compared to that of the organised sector. It adds more than 60% to the national income while the contribution of the organised sector is almost half of that depending on the industry. “You can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women”. -Jawaharlal Nehru. When Amartya Sen had taken up the issue of women’s welfare, he was accused in India of voicing “foreign concern”. He was told, Indian women don’t think like that about equality. But he argued saying that if they don’t think like that they should be given an opportunity to think like that. The International Labour Organisation says that women represent: i) 50% of the population
ii) 30% of the labour force
iii) Perform 60% of all working hours
iv) Receive 10% of the world’s income
v) Own less than 1% of the world’s property
Women’s economic participation can be mentioned in the field of production of goods and services accounted in the national income statistics. However, female work participation has always been low at 26% compared to 52% of men. The problem is that women have always been at work; only the definitions of work and work plan have never been defined or realistic to include their contribution to the economy and the society. Hence we may define a few terms to get a clearer picture.
• Work Force Participation Rate is the proportion of “working” population to total population. • Labour force excludes children below the age of 15 and old people above the age of 60. • Worker is one gainfully employed or one working for a livelihood- excluding unpaid family workers. Need to Work
Why do women work? Women work mainly for economic independence, for economic necessity, as some women are qualified enough to work, for a sense of achievement and to provide service to the society. Most Indian women by and large undertake “productive work” only under economic compulsion. This is the reason for high female participation rates in economically under privileged communities. Usually upper class women are limited to homes. Work participation rate is found to be higher among rural women (27%) than the urban women (10%). We will find that women usually go in for temporary and standby jobs because of the prevalent hesitancy to employ women in regular jobs and providing them with good working conditions. The main workers are those who “work” for the major part of the year. Female main workers constitute 14.65% of the population and men- 50.54%. Female marginal workers constitute 6.26% of the population, whereas males being only 0.98% Most of the women are found to be employed in agricultural activities and in the unorganised sector. The employment of women is high in the unorganised sector such as part time helpers in households, construction center, tanneries (setting, parting and drying), match and beedi industries etc. An estimate by the World Bank shows that 90% of the women working in the informal sector are not included in the official statistics and their work is undocumented and considered as disguised wage work, unskilled, low paying and do not provide benefits to the workers....