Women workers in Bihar still paid less: Survey

PATNA: A large number of women workers are still being exploited by their employers. They are paid lower wages than male workers.

Ninety per cent of women were involved in the informal sector requiring unskilled labour, and enjoyed no benefits. Most of these women still give all their earnings to their husband or in-laws and had very little say in decision-making. Most working women take full responsibility of family and have no leisure time.

These are the findings of a recent study conducted on the `Economic participation of women in Bihar’ in four districts of Bihar – Kishanganj, Vaishali, Madhubani and East Champaran.

The study was done by Equity Foundation, an NGO, supported by socio-economic research division of the Planning Commission. The study has revealed that positive change in women’s lifestyle is mainly limited to the upper and middle classes, which form only a miniscule portion of the Indian population.

Gender indicators such as poverty, health, education, reproductive and legislative rights and their implications on women’s lives are yet to reach the common men and women.

The respondents, of which 66% were illiterate, were not getting government facilities like BPL cards, Indira Awas and ration card. There is a common need for housing, sanitation and infrastructure.

Over the years, while the status of women in South India has shown signs of significant improvement, the other states, particularly the Hindi heartland states, have lagged behind, says the secretary of the Patna-based Equity foundation, Nina Shrivastava, adding “the overall condition of women in the state has remained a neglected terrain.”

In Bihar, women were found to be victim of double discrimination, one for being a women and secondly for being member of a backward state. The study claims to be the first of its kind.

The field work covered multi-caste panchayats in each of the four districts. The target group was selected randomly using stratified random sampling method from those panchayats where SHGs existed. A sample size of 2,400 women was taken (40 women from each of the five panchayats in three blocks, i.e, 600 from each district).



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