The girls’ grant scheme has been announced, but the state has not commented on how they will return to work.
If you don’t get it, where can you get it? The report of the Central Labor Office reminded me of that old puzzle. It shows that the unemployment rate of girls is the lowest in the state. In April-June 2021, the unemployment rate among girls of all ages was only five percent. And among 15-29 year olds it is ten and a half percent. Even lower than the state’s past rate – in April-June 2020, the state’s female unemployment rate was about 25 percent.
According to experts, this apparent ‘improvement’ is in fact a sign of a deeper crisis. Unemployment rate is determined by the proportion of people who are job seekers and who have not found work. The fact that the unemployment rate for girls in West Bengal is lower than before does not mean that many girls have been re-employed.
This means that many girls are giving up looking for work, they are no longer coming to the labor market as job seekers. Men and women in India have lost their jobs due to overcrowding and lockdowns. But that crisis has been long lasting in the case of girls. Most men got their jobs back when the lockdown went up, girls didn’t.
A large portion of these job-losing girls are no longer in the job market, which is why West Bengal is getting the lowest unemployment rate for girls.
Why do girls have to move from the job market to unpaid household chores? There are several possible reasons for this. One, job opportunities have declined overall due to the downturn in the economy. Recession in business, labor is cheaper than before, so wages have decreased. For many girls, this has reduced the attractiveness of employment. Two, the hospitality, the service sector, which has been the most employed for girls, has shrunk the most due to Covid’s injury.
Domestic labor is a major source of employment for poor girls in West Bengal. Domestic workers have been laid off in large numbers for the Kovid season for fear of infection, and many have not been able to return to work because they have not been vaccinated. Third, the day-to-day care of the child due to the long school closures, the care of the returning men and the elderly suffering from various ailments, including covid, Such extra household chores keep the girls busy.
It is a long-standing tradition in India to impose the burden of domestic labor on girls. The presence of unemployed men in the lockdown also did not change that habit
As a result, there is a situation today where only one of the five working girls in Bengal is able to earn by participating in the job market, where only three out of four men are earning.
This huge inequality will hurt the socio-economic security and dignity of girls, he said. Politics is also carefully avoiding the question of why girls are being excluded from the job market just to be educated, skilled and hardworking. The girls’ grant scheme has been announced, but the state has not commented on how they will return to work. This survey raises that question again.