A Gallup study shows that China outpaces India for Women in the Workforce. Chinese women are taking part in their country’s labor force in vastly greater numbers than Indian women are, according to Gallup surveys between 2009 and 2012. Overall, 70% of Chinese women are either employed in some capacity or seeking employment, vs. 25% of Indian women.
Not only do Indian women participate in the labor force at lower levels, those who do participate have a harder time finding jobs than women in China. Gallup’s data indicate that, among Indian women who are labor force participants, 15% are unemployed — meaning they are available for work and looking for jobs — compared with 5% among India’s male labor force participants. Among the much larger share of women in the Chinese workforce, 5% are unemployed.
The most recent UNESCO statistics put the literacy rate among Chinese females at 91%, approaching the 97% rate among Chinese men. This rate of literacy far exceeds that in India, where half of women are literate, along with three-quarters of Indian men. Indian women are less likely than Chinese women to receive even a basic education — and those Indian women who do achieve higher levels of education are less likely to apply it in a full-time job.
A long time to change especially with literacy and education problem
The Economist has a discussion of women in work in different countries. There are many cultural shifts that have to occur and restructuring how the society is organized to enable shifts in women participation in the workforce.
The Chinese economy is currently outperforming India’s: The World Bank put China’s growth rate at 9.0% in 2011 and India’s at 6.8%. But over the coming decades, demographic trends will pose a serious challenge for China’s high-octane growth. Its aging population and low fertility rate means its workforce will shrink as a share of the total population by as much as 11% over the next 40 years, according to one estimate. In India, by contrast, the proportion of working-age people in the population is not projected to peak until around 2030.
However, women’s participation in the formal economy will help determine how well India will be able to convert its “demographic bonus” into economic gain. Here, Gallup’s global data demonstrate China has a distinct advantage: The country’s female labor force participation is among the highest in Asia, while India’s, like those of most south Asian countries, is among one of the lowest. The difference is most pronounced among more highly educated women, further supporting the notion that Chinese women contribute more to their country’s “human capital” stock than Indian women.