STUDY: WOMEN’S ALLOCATION OF TIME IN INDIA - November 2015

STUDY: WOMEN’S ALLOCATION OF TIME IN INDIA

Author: Laura Gagliardone, Research Analyst and Development Writer

LINKED IN PROFILE ¨ glaura.sorriso@gmail.com

Date: November 2015

LESSONS LEARNED

  1. PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: review the literature regarding the women’s allocation of time in India since time is a direct source of utility which is often ignored in economics;
  2. TIME USE SURVEY (TUS): irregular national survey conducted to collect information about how people use their time. At present, it can be in the form of a word document or online questionnaire to be filled by the sample of participants selected. And it can be utilized as (1) basis for understanding, measuring and monitoring the society over which policies can be formulated, assessed, and modified; (2) information on paid and unpaid activities with implications for poverty, gender equality, and human development; and (3) data complementing national income data. In India, the TUS at country level was conducted in 18,591 households spread over 6 states, namely: Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Meghalaya. The field work was done from July, 1998 to June, 1999 and, with its size and coverage, such TUS is the first of its kind, not only in India but among all the developing countries. Later, two TUSs have been conducted at state level: one in Rural Punjab (2011-2012) and the other in Bihar and Gujarat (2013). This last has served as basis for the All India TUS 2014-15/2015-16;
  3. INDIAN ACTIVITY CLASSIFICATION: classification that divides activities into 3 major groups and 9 categories: System of National Accounts (SNA) (1) primary production activities; (2) secondary sector activities; (3) tertiary sector activities (trade, business and services); Extended (Ex) SNA (4) household maintenance, management and shopping for own households; (5) care of children, elderly, disabled for own household; (6) community services; and Non-SNA (7) learning; (8) social and cultural activities; and (9) personal care and self-maintenance;
  4. WOMEN’S ACTIVITIES: women are predominant in subsistence production and informal employment in both rural and urban areas. Their work is often scattered, sporadic, and poorly diversified, and they spend long hours on unpaid work and non-SNA activities;
  5. RECOMMENDATIONS: (1) reduce and redistribute unpaid work by providing infrastructures and services such as energy and water supply, improving technology, organizing affordable childcare facilities, and promoting values that support equal sharing of unpaid work; (2) design programs to improve women’s skills and enable them to access better jobs and enter new sectors as wage earners and entrepreneurs; and (3) design policies to improve the management of natural resources; ensure adequate supplies of water, fuel wood, and fodder; and generate employment;
  6. POLICY IMPLICATIONS: at operational level, an inventory of existing studies, methodologies, their assessment for appropriateness, followed by identification of gaps can be useful. At policy level, it is recommended the introduction of TUSs as part of the government normal, ongoing, official data collection effort, for example the census operations or price statistics. These studies are relatively expensive so it is only with state budgetary support that country wide time use data with a regular periodicity can be obtained. Moreover, capacity building is strongly recommended among the following groups: (1) the UN system as it could well take the lead in standardizing methodologies and developing comparable statistics on time use; (2) economists and planners on the concepts, methods and uses of time use data; (3) policy makers and decision takers regarding gender differences in the costs, burdens and benefits of work; and (4) journalists;
  7. GOVERNMENT ROLE: the government should support training and skill upgradation programs. Such inputs, combined with entrepreneurial and personality development trainings, provide avenues for women to move out of high time consuming but low paid work. India is likely to soon begin this approach to measuring employment in order to better capture women’s contribution to the economy.

INDIAN WOMEN’S WEEKLY AVERAGE TIME SPENT

SNA, Ex-SNA & Non-SNA Activities (participants)

In hours

 

SNA

Ex-SNA

Non-SNA

Rural

33.18

33.14

115.00

Urban

27.46

37.30

124.90

70% of the respondents were residing in rural areas; 47.5% of the respondents were employed whereas 51.7% were out of labor force; and 87% of the women reported that they participated in the household decision making.

 

SNA, Ex-SNA and Non-SNA by Age Group (participants) - In hours

Age Group

 

 

 

SNA*

 

 

 

Extended SNA

Non-SNA

IV

Household maintenance, management and shopping for own household

V

Care for children, the sick, elderly and disabled for own household

VI

Community services and help to other households

VII

Learning

VIII

Social and cultural activities, mass media, etc.

IX

Personal care and self-maintenance

6-14

17.41

9.58

5.49

9.13

49.09

23.39

96.21

15-59

12.85

8.56

12.78

7.97

40.53

16.50

96.83

59+

29.57

24.36

10.57

12.69

4.35

20.18

124.06

 

SNA activities*

Participation rates

Weekly time spent

I. Primary activities

77.45

17.29

Crop farming, kitchen gardening, stocking and transporting, sale and purchase for crop farming, and other related activities

29.54

34.81

Animal husbandry

30.33

12.80

Fishing, forestry, horticulture, and gardening

4.03

12.14

Fetching of fruit, water, fuel wood, fodder, plants, and other raw materials for craft and building materials; storage and hunting

39.08

9.62

Processing and storage

5.46

8.37

Mining, quarrying, digging, cutting, storage, stocking and related sales and purchase

0.66

34.73

II. Secondary activities

9.97

2.16

Construction activities

1.56

29.54

Manufacturing activities

8.48

24.81

III. Tertiary activities

12.59

2.70

Trade and business

2.72

22.00

Services

12.06

21.07

Community-organized construction/repairs

0.13

7.52

SNA activities combined

100

30.04

 

FINDINGS AT COUNTRY LEVEL

  1. Women spend about 10.32 hours for unpaid work and 21.48 for paid SNA activities;
  2. Female participation to SNA activities is higher in rural (33.18 hours) than urban areas (27.46 hours);
  3. Women in rural and urban areas spend most of their time in Non-SNA activities: (VII) learning (49.09 hours, age group 6-14), (VIII) social and cultural activities and mass media (23.39 hours, age group 6-14), and (IX) personal care and self-maintenance (124.06 hours, age group 59+);
  4. Women aged 59+ spend more time in SNA activities (29.57 hours) than those aged 6-14 and 15-59;
  5. Women aged 59+ spend more time in Ex-SNA activities regarding (IV) household, maintenance, management, and shopping for own household (24.36 hours); and (VI) community services and help to other households (12.69 hours) than those aged 6-14 and 15-59;
  6. Women aged 15-59 spend more time in Ex-SNA activities regarding (V) care for children, the sick, elderly and disabled for own household (12.78 hours) than those aged 6-14 and 59+;
  7. Most time spent in SNA activities is in: (I. Primary activities) crop farming, kitchen gardening, stocking and transporting, sale and purchase for crop farming, and other related activities (34.81 hours); and mining, quarrying, digging, cutting, storage, stocking and related sales and purchase (34.73 hours); (II. Secondary activities) construction (29.54 hours); and (III. Tertiary activities) trade and business (22.00 hours);
  8. 10% households in rural areas and 9% in urban areas were headed by women without much difference among scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other social groups across states.

FINDINGS AT STATE LEVEL: RURAL PUNJAB

  1. The proportion of women in domestic duties (age group 15-59) is: 60.10% in rural areas and 65.60% in urban areas while the proportion of those engaged in free collection of goods and other activities for household use are 59.01% in rural areas and 49.68% in urban areas;

10. Women are in domestic duties because: (1) no other member carries out the responsibility (46.48%); (2) social and religious constraints (24.26%); and (3) cannot afford hired help (9.53%). And their activities include: (1) sewing, tailoring, weaving etc. for household consumption (45.46%); (2) preparation of cow-dung cakes for fuel (23.00%); and (3) tutoring of own children (10.44%);

11. When the women are asked if they are willing to accept work at the home place, about 29% are and this proportion is higher in rural areas (32%) compared to urban areas (26%). 77% want it of part-time nature on regular basis and 17% regular full time work. The proportion of those willing to accept regular part time work is higher in rural areas (about 79%) compared to the urban setting (about 73%).

PROJECTIONS: THE IMPACT OF A 40 HOURS PER WEEK JOB

The data analysis clearly shows that women work for longer hours than males but spend lots of time in unpaid activities. Therefore, if extended SNA activities were included in the economy, the contribution of women would be higher compared to men. For example, if women were employed in a regular, full time job, 40 hours per week, there would be significant changes at the country and household level. Below, some projections:

COUNTRY LEVEL

  1. Reduction of time spent for unpaid work and Non-SNA activities and increase of time spent for SNA activities: from 21.48 to 40 hours in both rural and urban areas;
  2. Younger labor force due to a shift of age group employed in SNA activities: at present women aged 59+ are those who spend more time in paid work. That would change in favor of those aged 15-59;
  3. Reduction of time spent for (IV) household, maintenance, management, and shopping as well as (VI) community services and help to other households. And better organization of weekly time;
  4. Transformation of (V) care for children, sick, elderly and disabled into paid activities;
  5. Diversification of SNA activities and more time spent for (III) trade and businesses. Increased country capacity to do business and facilitate learning since women tend to share knowledge more than men;
  6. Increase of profits for various industries: textile, dairy, and others since women are interested in those works;
  7. Opportunities for the government, institutions, and enterprises to provide initial finance and training assessing needs and return on investment (ROI) and aligning their policies to international standards;
  8. Diversification of the market because women can bring in new ideas and talents in different jobs, especially those related to textile, food, house, children, and elderly. And better environmental protection, healthcare and human development because of women’s sensitivity and interest in social sciences;
  9. Increase of State Domestic Product (SDP)[1] since the estimates based on the replacement method show that the contribution of extended SNA activities of the women ranges between 1/4 to 1/3 of the SDP.

HOUSEHOLD LEVEL

  1. Decisions taken within the household would be more inclusive of women’s experience in the market;
  2. Reduction of the number of women in domestic duties and the impact of social and religious constraints;
  3. Women’s empowerment, increase of their self-confidence, and better quality education for children;
  4. Diversification of skills: on average, about 75% of women already have the requisite skill for the work chosen so there is room to develop new abilities;
  5. Reduction of the number of activities (from 5 to 3) conducted by women so better specialization and focus.


[1] The replacement cost is estimated by using the minimum wages as a lower bound and the prevailing median wages as the upper bound. This estimation depends upon total hours spent on the activities in a week, number of people engaged and wage rate. The formula is: Value of unpaid work = (average time spent for activity)X(wage rate)X(no. of people) = (total time spent for activity)X(wage rate per unit of time).

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Comment by Rituu B Nanda on December 8, 2016 at 22:53

Thanks Ms. Laura for adding me as a friend. I would look forward to learn from you. Your time use study is especially important on the back drop of SDG frame when the national governments are require…

Thanks Ms. Laura for adding me as a friend. I would look forward to learn from you. Your time use study is especially important on the back drop of SDG frame when the national governments are required to reflect women's social reproductive work in national income.

Comment by Laura Gagliardone 2 hours ago

Dear Ms. Panda, it is a privilege and a pleasure to learn together.

In India, the TUS at country level was conducted from July 1998 to June 1999 in 18,591 households spread over 6 states. With its size and coverage, this TUS was the first of its kind among all the developing countries and could be replicated to incorporate gender related issues in all areas of work: the SDGs. The Indian activity classification used divides activities into 3 major groups and 9 categories: System of National Accounts (SNA) (1) primary production activities; (2) secondary sector activities; (3) tertiary sector activities (trade, business and services); Extended (Ex) SNA (4) household maintenance, management and shopping for own households; (5) care of children, elderly, disabled for own household; (6) community services; and Non-SNA (7) learning; (8) social and cultural activities; and (9) personal care and self-maintenance.

There are significant benefits to women being engaged more in paid work. This would add to economic growth, reduce population growth and its impact on scarce resources and environmental degradation, reduce impoverishment of women, provide justification of higher levels of education, and increase the diversity of different types of businesses.

Comment by Laura Gagliardone 7 hours ago
Delete Comment

My pleasure Ms. Panda. Please notice that my name is Laura Gagliardone so I am Ms. Gagliardone. Anyway, feel free to call me Laura. Have a nice day!

Comment by Laura Gagliardone on December 8, 2016 at 0:32

Dear Ms. Panda, I thank you for appreciating my work. Some data on care work are available below:

TIME USE SURVEY (TUS) AT COUNTRY LEVEL, 1998-1999: INDIA

Women’s Weekly Average Time Spent

Care for Children, The Sick, Elderly and Disabled for Own Household (participants)

Extended SNA - In hours

 

511

521

531

541

551

561

562

571

572

581

591

511-591

Rural

9.3

6.5

5.1

5.5

4.4

8.6

3.0

3.1

3.3

4.8

5.4

10.6

Urban

11.9

7.5

4.7

5.3

2.2

8.3

5.0

3.3

1.4

3.0

6.8

13.1

Total

10.4

7.1

4.9

5.4

3.2

8.5

4.2

3.2

2.8

4.1

6.1

11.6

 

Indira Hirway, Director and Professor of Economics at the Centre for Development Alternatives in Ahmedabad, has long argued for India to include TUSs in its bouquet of official statistics. Referring to the TUS 1998-1999, Professor Hirway has showed that ‘a TUS can provide improved estimates of, and better information on, the workforce in a developing country, particularly capturing women’s participation in informal employment, including subsistence production.’

Warm regards, Laura Gagliardone

Comment by Rukmini Panda on December 6, 2016 at 16:01

Dear Rituu

Thanks for sharing. Very useful analysis especially in the context of care work consuming more time leaving less for productive engagement. 

Reagrds

Rukmini

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