Time to drop the political rhetoric. Odisha has to do some soul-searching as the State languishes at the bottom in the country when it comes to women occupying vantage positions in the State workforce. Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh seem to be light years ahead of Odisha.
As per the data of Annual Bulletin of Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) 2019-20, only 24.4 percent of female workers vis-a-vis the male workers in Odisha are in the positions of legislators, senior officers and managers, despite quota for women in politics have been hitting the full-size political screen space for long in the State.
The PLFS data shows when only 24.4 percent of female workers with respect to the male workers in rural Odisha have been working as legislators, senior officials and managers, the count in urban Odisha has been only 15.1 percent. The State average, thus, has been in every 5 working in the position of legislators, senior officials and managers, the female count is only 1.
Moreover, for every 100 in managerial positions in rural Odisha, only 19 are women. And the ratio in urban Odisha stood at a mere 13.
Above all, the total female workers in the labour force (employed + unemployed) of the State is measured at 32.2 percent in rural Odisha and 35.2 percent in the urban region.
Odisha On National Screen
Among the 33 states and UTs, Odisha is placed among the bottom -15 with regard to women in the position of legislators, senior officials and managers. Similarly, in the representation of women at senior and mid-level positions, the State has been ranked at 18th among 33 states and UTs.
Odisha's Show In Neighbourhood
Though women quota in political representation in Odisha dominated the last election, when it comes to the ratio of women to men as legislators, senior officials and managers, Chhattisgarh trumped Odisha by yards.
As per the PLFS data, when a whopping 91.4 percent of women workers with respect to male workers in rural Chhattisgarh are working as legislators, senior officials and managers, the ratio in rural Odisha is measured at 24.4 percent. The numbers in the urban regions are Chhattisgarh 15.2 percent and Odisha at 15.1 percent.
Women representation at significant positions in the workforce in southern neighbour Andhra Pradesh has been very high. While 51.6 percent of female workers vis-a-vis male workers in rural areas of AP are working as legislators, senior officials and managers, the ratio in urban Andhra is high at 43 percent. In urban Odisha, the figure is only 15 percent.
Women In Labour Force
In every 100 labour force in Odisha, the number of women in urban areas has been measured at around 24 and nearly 37 in rural Odisha.
Both Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh have higher participation of women in the labour force.
Is Women Education Low In Odisha?
The PLFS data doesn't support this assumption. Though the urban women participation in the labour force is low in Odisha, however as per the PLFS, 59.3 percent female population in urban Odisha have successfully completed secondary level education. In contrast, the rate in urban Andhra Pradesh has been only 47 percent.
Similarly, when 44.3 percent of rural women in Odisha had cleared secondary education, the ratio in rural AP stands at 38.2 percent.
Women In High Positions - Why Odisha Fared Poorer?
As per experts, the poor participation of women in the Odisha labour force hints big.
"Our studies show when there are fewer job opportunities, women in society keep away from searching jobs. So, generation of more job opportunities is the need of the hour, not rhetoric. Low women participation side-effect will get reflected in daily wages too. In such scenario, women wages will remain lower than men," explained a senior researcher at Nabakrushna Choudhury Centre for Development Studies (NCDS).