Women's Labour in India: Balancing Paid and Unpaid Work | Humanities & Social Sciences

Women's Labour in India: Balancing Paid and Unpaid Work

Tuesday Seminar
Prof. Ashwini Deshpande
Date and Time: 
Tue, 21/11/2023 - 3:30pm
03:30 PM to 05:00 PM
HSS Committee Room, 5th Floor, Main Building, IIT Delhi

This paper analyses unit-level data from the India's national Time Use Survey (TUS) for 2019 to present a comprehensive picture of the multiple types of work that both men and women do (whether they participate or not, and if yes, how much time they spend on each activity). The paper makes three major contributions. First, it documents how participation rates and time spent varies by various demographic characteristics, such as age, rural/urban residence, social identity, education level and state of residence. These estimates highlight substantial gender gaps in types of work, both inside and outside the home. While it is well-known that women everywhere spend more time on unpaid work, in countries like India, women are also engaged in unpaid economic work, which is mismeasured and undercounted. Second, the paper estimates the contribution of different factors, such as labor-saving gadgets, outsourcing work to paid helpers or presence of females (including young girls), in reducing women's time spent on unpaid work. The third contribution of the paper are back-of-the-envelope estimates of the economic costs and benefits of providing universal childcare services via the official Anganwadi centres. This exercise has important policy implications for strengthening and expanding jobs in the "care economy" (broadly defined), which would free up women's time from unpaid domestic and care work at home, as well as generate paid jobs, both of which are likely to increase women's labour force participation rate.