General Studies Paper 2

Context: The article deals with the issues of the employment status of Muslim women.

What are the statistics about Muslims in higher education?

  • AISHE 2021 data on higher education enrolment in the country showed that there were more women than men from the Muslim community in undergraduate courses. Out of 1,000 Muslim students in higher education, 503 are women.
  • But, there has been an absolute decrease in Muslims in higher education. The number of students from the community in higher education decreased to 19.21 lakh in 2020-21 from 21 lahks in 2019-20.

What are three disturbing trends shown by PLFS related to the employment status of women?

  • The female labour force participation (FLFP) rate has stagnated at very low levels in our country. Women’s employment is seen as a supplemental source of income.
  • The share of women employed in unpaid labour has increased even for highly educated women. In 2017-18, 6.2% of women with graduate or higher levels of education worked as unpaid helpers. By 2021-22, this share had increased to 11.2 per cent.

What are the issues with the employment status of Muslim women?

  • Muslim women are absent from the workforce.
  • The female labour force participation rate of Muslim women in the country is 15%, as compared to 26.1% for Hindu women.
  • Over the past three years, Muslim women have had the lowest LFP rate amongst all religious groups in the country.
  • Only 12.4% of working Muslim women are salaried as compared to 16.2% of Hindu women.

What is the way forward to have more Muslim women in workplaces?

  • Employers need to ensure women’s inclusion in the workplace. They should also take an intersectional approach. 
  • Research shows that Muslim women face significant discrimination in hiring at entry-level roles. There is a need to incorporate mechanisms to address biases in hiring. 
  • There is a need to avoid faith stereotyping, and design inclusive networking opportunities and company events. It is necessary to promote cultural awareness, create an inclusive schedule for employees with faith-related needs. Women should be offered compassion and support.
  • Government and policymakers need to make those jobs available that women want. They need to create ecosystems that are supportive of employed women. This involves creating space for women from all communities in policy conversations.
  • Families and society need to prioritise women’s employment so that women can have agency, express themselves, and expand their sources of happiness. 
  • The stereotype of men being the sole breadwinner of the family puts a lot of pressure on them. Women can be brought in to share this burden.
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