India Discrimination Report 2022: Oxfam India


    In News

    • Recently, Oxfam India Report stated that discrimination in India causes 100 percent of employment inequality faced by women in rural areas in the labour market and 98 percent in urban areas. 
      • Report’s findings are based on Government’s data on employment and labour from 2004-05 to 2019-20.

    Key Highlights 

    • Declining Women Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR):
      • It is the proportion of the working-age population that engages actively in the labour market, either by working or looking for work.
      • For women in India, it declined from 42.7% in 2004-05 to 25.1% in 2021, showing withdrawal of women from the workforce despite rapid economic growth during the same period.
    • Male-Female Pay Gap: 
      • In 2019-20, 60% of all males aged 15 and above had regular salaried or self-employed jobs; the rate for females was 19%.
    • Discrimination in Labour:
      • Female casual workers earn about Rs 3,000 less than their male counterparts.
    • Increased discrimination for SC/ST:
      • Self-employed SC/STs earn Rs 5,000 less than non-SC/STs and discrimination accounts for 41% of this gap
    • Gender Discrimination in rural and urban areas:
      • Gender discrimination in India is structural which results in great disparities between earnings of men and women under ‘normal circumstances’. 
      • This can be inferred from the data for 2004-05, 2018-19 and 2019- 20. The earning gaps are large, both in rural and urban areas for casual workers ranging between 50 percent and 70 percent. 


    Image Courtesy: Quint 

    Reasons for Discrimination

    • Societal and Employers prejudices are responsible for women’s lower wages.
    • Poor access to the education system and work experience.
    • A large segment of the well qualified women want to join the workforce because of household responsibilities or social status.
    • A massive drop in casual employment for women in urban areas during the first quarter of the pandemic.

    Recommendations/ Way Ahead

    • Actively enforce legislation for the protection of the right to equal wages and work.
    • Work to actively incentivise the participation of women in the workforce, including enhancements in pay, upskilling, job reservations, easy return-to-work options, particularly after maternity leave, and the option to work from home, wherever possible.
    • Need to ensure a more equitable distribution of household work and childcare duties between women and men.
    • Implementing “living wages” as opposed to minimum wages, particularly for all informal workers, and formalise contractual, temporary, and casual labour as much as possible.


    • Oxfam is a confederation of 20 independent charitable organisations focusing on the alleviation of global poverty
    • It was founded in 1942 and led by Oxfam International. 
      • Oxfam has been in India since 1951. It first came to India to respond to the Bihar famine. 
      • In 2008, Oxfam India became an independent affiliate and an Indian NGO. 
    • It is a major nonprofit group with an extensive collection of operations.
    • HQ: Nairobi, Kenya.
    • Vision: A world where people and the planet are at the centre of our economy. Where women and girls live free from violence and discrimination. Where the climate crisis is contained. And where governance systems are inclusive and allow for those in power to be held to account.

    Source: IE