Bias behind Indian women finding fewer jobs and earning less: Oxfam report

A woman competing with a man for jobs in Indian villages is 100% likely to be discriminated against because of her gender and has only a 2% chance of finding work in the cities, according to a new Oxfam report.

Social pressure and employer bias have contributed to a bias against hiring women, according to data released Wednesday. Discrimination also means that women earn 67% less than men.

Decades of government efforts to dissuade prenatal sex determination have helped improve a gender imbalance in India, where families traditionally favor sons over daughters. But the latest figures underscore the challenges of equal opportunity: between 2010 and 2020, the number of working women in India fell from 26% to 19%, according to the World Bank.

Oxfam’s report, which bases its findings on Indian government employment data from 2004 to 2020, also highlights caste and religious biases in the workforce.

In villages, lower castes have faced increased discrimination in employment, according to the report. Income disparities among casual workers in cities were attributable to discrimination in 79% of cases, the report found, with urban Muslims facing particularly high unemployment rates.