The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Men, a home truth in office
- Study finds women ahead in employment growth

New Delhi, March 7: Ma’am, off to work on International Women’s Day'

If so, leave home today with the thought that more women than men have joined the workforce since 1998.

Indian women have clocked a 3.35 per cent rise in employment between 1998 and 2004, according to a survey that covered both the public and private sectors.

Not impressed' Then consider this: the number of men who found work during the same period fell by as much as 8 per cent.

Do keep in mind that the growth in women’s employment is on a smaller base because of which big changes in absolute numbers are not needed to push up percentages. But that should not take any credit away from the women in a country that is no stranger to gender discrimination — at home as well as at the workplace.

The figures were thrown up during a study on “women employment growth rate and gender budgeting” by industry chamber Assocham.

According to the study, women employed in the public and private sector increased to 49.34 lakh in 2004 from 47.74 lakh in 1998; for men, it has fallen to 215.09 lakh in 2004 from 233.92 lakh.

Shailaja Dutt, the managing director of Stellar Search and Selection, a headhunter for top-and middle-level management, said the data reflect the trend on the ground.

“Yes, our experience shows there has been a phenomenal change in the percentage of working women looking at career on a long-term basis for the last five to seven years.”

The public sector has been hiring women at a far more aggressive pace than the private sector. The number of women employed in the public sector has risen from 27.63 lakh in 1998 to 28.9 lakh in 2004 — a growth of close to 4.6 per cent. The private sector added 0.33 lakh women staff with a growth of 1.64 per cent over 1998, taking the total to 20.44 lakh.

A further break-up reveals that the public sector added women to the workforce at an average rate of 0.83 per cent per year, while simultaneously dropping men at an average rate of 1.34 per cent between 1998 and 2004.

According to data compiled by the public sector enterprises board, the only year with a negative growth rate in the state-owned segment was 2004, which saw 0.15 lakh women being laid off.

In the case of the private sector, growth rate in employment was positive in five out of seven years, with 2002 and 2004 being the only exceptions.

Men had a difficult time in private organisations as well, facing a negative growth in all the seven years.

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