Female Labor Force Participation in Kerala: Problems and Prospects

Sumit Mazumdar, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)
M. Guruswamy, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

Women are vital and productive agents in Indian economy, but the labor force is largely masculine. The state of Kerala boasts greater status of women and low gender bias in society. It is paradoxical that, in a society that is conducive towards women, female labor force participation has been consistently on a decline. This paper aims to examine the issues and understand the linkages to identify the possible determinants of the observed paradox. We have mainly used Census of India 1991 and 2001 as our data source. Bivariate correlation analysis and multivariate regression were done to understand the association between and relative contributions of significant predictor variables of female work force participation. The paper takes a closer look at the existing bottlenecks hindering women’s economic activity in the state of Kerala and suggests possible policy actions, aiming at enhanced empowerment of women, in a favorable social setting.

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Presented in Session 168: Gender Differentials in Schooling and Occupations