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Women in Bundelkhand's Workforce

  The proportion of women in the workforce in Bundelkhand is generally higher than the India average
The proportion of women in the workforce in UP Bundelkhand and MP Bundelkhand is generally higher than the India average, and much higher than the UP average.

(The proportion of women in the workforce is also called female work participation, and is calculated as percentage of main+ marginal female workers in total female population. While discussing Census data, we refer to 'females' rather than 'women', as working persons below the age of 15 also come under the Census definition of 'workers'.)

While, according to Census 2001, female workers constituted around 25% of the total female population in India, and only around 16% of the female population in UP, in all Bundelkhand districts except Jhansi and Jalaun, they constituted over 30% of the female population (see table below).

This may indicate that cultural norms which discourage women from working in UP are not generally as deeply rooted in Bundelkhand. However, higher female work participation could also be seen as sign of higher economic vulnerability. It is also an indicator of lower enrollment of girls in schools, as working girls are also considered 'workers'.

Comparatively low female work participation in Jhansi is in tune with female work participation in other districts of India that have a fairly high urban population - the proportion of working females in urban India is lower than in rural India.

However, as the table shows, generally less than 50% of female workers in Bundelkhand are 'main workers' - engaged in economic activity for the major part of six months or more in the year.

The exception is in Sagar, where according to Census 2001 data, nearly 70,000 female main workers are engaged in household - mainly beedi manufacturing - industry, constituting over half the total number of main workers in this industry, in this district. A similarly high percentage of female main workers are engaged in the beedi manufacturing industry in Damoh.

The percentage of female workers engaged as main workers in MP Bundelkhand is significantly higher than in all UP Bundelkhand districts except Chitrakoot.

As with the rest of the working population (see table in Employment Sources in Bundelkhand), the majority of female workers are employed in agriculture. Of note is the number of women who work mainly as cultivators (last column of below table). In Lalitpur, Chitrakoot, Datia, Tikamgarh and Chhatarpur, over 60% of female main workers are cultivators, and analysis of Census 2001 data shows that in all districts of Bundelkhand except Jalaun, Damoh and Sagar, women constitute 15-20% of main workers who are cultivators.

Also of note is the fact that according to Census 2001 data, only in Sagar and Jhansi districts are there more than 15,000 female main workers engaged in 'other work', which includes working in government service, private sector factories, small industrial units, and businesses engaged in trading or service sector activities.

Female workers in Bundelkhand (Census 2001)


(main+ marginal)
as % of female
main workers
as % of all
female workers
main workers
who are cultivators
Jhansi 812113 187729 23.1 73720 39.3 34161
Lalitpur 458321 160359 35 49363 30.8 33398
Jalaun 667811 135707 20.3 38456 28.3 16564
Hamirpur 479923 131389 27.4 41090 31.3 19447
Mahoba 328756 107506 32.7 39307 36.6 20289
Banda 710790 215053 30.2 80037 37.2 44557
Chitrakoot 357047 128755 36 57860 44.9 37653
UP Bundelkhand 3814761 1066498 21.8 379833 35.6 206069
Datia 290008 125370 43.2 61181 48.8 41888
Tikamgarh 565085 233184 41.3 97618 41.9 69643
Chhatarpur 685790 203693 29.7 93201 45.7 56465
Panna 406009 142660 35.1 64405 45.1 31642
Damoh 513720 183915 35.8 86527 47 16162
Sagar 948782 288390 30.4 150916 52.3 27750
MP Bundelkhand 3409394 1177212 34.5 553848 47 243550

| Employment Sources | Breakup of Non-agricultural Main Workers | Women in Workforce | Bonded Labour |

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