Social Scientist. v 17, no. 198-99 (Nov-Dec 1989) p. 111.


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BOOK REVIEW

Problems of Female Labour Participation

A.V. Jose (ed.). Limited Options: Women Workers in Rural India, ILO-ARTEP, Geifeva/New Delhi, 1989, pp. 259.

Amongst the developing countries of Asia the female participation rate in the labour force in India continues to interest scholars for raising analytical issues relating to the emerging gender structure of the labour force. This volume brings together studies undertaken for an ARTEP workshop for the research project *FLP of Women in India', to enable planners and policy makers to focus on the core issue—prospects for the upward mobility of women, particularly into skill-intensive and more remunerative occupational categones.

The studies share a general theme: identification of the links between increased participation of women in the labour force and a dynamic growth process in the economy. They also indicate that the non-agricultural sector is the visible sector as far as entry of women into the labour force is recommended in terms of upward mobility. They point to certain prerequisites to accomplish such a shift, particularly an improvement in female literacy and a reduction in fertility rates. The studies also take a closer look at regional variations in the structure of FLP to attempt an assessment of the determinants of increased FLP as well as its consequences. As such, the main concern of the studies lies in the identification of factors and forces that have acted as an impediment to the development of the labour market and the role of public policy in encouraging the entry of women into the non-agricultural sector of the economy, i

The publication of this volume is particularly pertinent at a time when the issues of women and work are not only in focus but also generating debate and controversy. Of special interest are the recommendations regarding policy makers, which must be heeded when promises are being made to establish quotas for the employment of women, rather than finding an overall solution.

What is particularly useful is the placing of the studies on India within a comparative perspective, indicating the gender structure of the work-force in selected Asian countries, and in specific historical periods. While there is near uniformity in the incidence of male workers, in the case of women there is significant variation. Their



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