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Female employment in India: determinants of choice of sector of activity

Sandhya Mahapatro (Department of Economics, A.N. Sinha Institute of Social Studies, Patna, India)

Journal of Economic Studies

ISSN: 0144-3585

Article publication date: 2 August 2019




The purpose of this paper is to examine whether the choice of employment sector for women is driven by the structure of the labour market or determined by the household socioeconomic condition.


Data for the study were drawn from the National Sample Survey 68th round (2011–2012). The sector of employment was assessed through females’ participation as an unpaid labour, employer/own account worker, informal wage worker, formal wage worker and unemployed. A multinomial logit model was used to examine the factors that determine the sector of employment.


Although education increases formal employment among women, most of them are unemployed or entering into informal employment. It indicates that the labour market has not been able to integrate educated women into formal employment.

Research limitations/implications

Increase in female education accompanied by a slow growth of employment creates the challenge to accommodate the educated and skilled women in formal employment.


This study examines the factors determining the sectoral participation of employment to assess the responses of the current labour market for the females, especially educated females who have not been adequately addressed. The findings of the study have significant implications for formulating appropriate labour market policies for the educated female labour force.



Mahapatro, S. (2019), "Female employment in India: determinants of choice of sector of activity", Journal of Economic Studies, Vol. 46 No. 3, pp. 748-759.



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