Students walk in a street in Sanjeeva Reddy Nagar, Hyderabad's IT skills training hub. Not only were fewer women training themselves for the labour market, far more women were married by age 22 in 2016 than men, according to a longitudinal study.

While three out of four men headed to work, about one in two women stayed at home by age 22 in undivided Andhra Pradesh, according to the preliminary findings (here, here and here) of an ongoing global longitudinal study of childhood poverty.

Not only were fewer women training themselves for the labour market, far more women were married by age 22 in 2016 than men, according to research by Young Lives India--the India chapter of Young Lives, a study of childhood poverty funded by the University of Oxford, UK--in undivided Andhra Pradesh since 2002.

These data lend weight to other studies that show Indian women are at a significant and possibly widening disadvantage. Gap between men and women has widened on political empowerment, healthy life expectancy and basic literacy, resulting in India slipping 21 places to 108 in 2017 from 87 in 2016 on the Global Gender Gap Index of the World Economic Forum, FactChecker reported on November 3, 2017.

If the number of women who quit jobs in India between 2004-05 and 2011-12 were a city, it would, at 19.6 million, be the third-most populated in the world, after Shanghai and Beijing, IndiaSpend reported on August 5, 2017.

While only 73 or 16% of 459 women aged 22 were enrolled in education and training in the Young Lives sample, 115 or 26% of 435 men were enrolled. While only 11% men were married at 22, 56% of women were married by that age in 2016.

By community, dalits (70%) had the highest share of 22-year-olds employed in 2016. By wealth, at 81%, the poorest third households had the highest share employed at 22 in 2016.

Source: Young Lives India

India’s female labour force participation rate, at 24%, was below the world average of 39% in 2016, according to World Bank data. India was ranked 172 among 185 nations for which data were available.

Indian women are increasingly dropping out of the workforce for various reasons including unsafe workplaces and stigma attached to working women, according to the ongoing IndiaSpend series on why fewer women are working (see here, here, here, here, here and here).

By 2025, India will need 2.5-3 million more skilled workers, according to this June 2017 report from the McKinsey Global Institute.

Among 24% youth aged 22 who signed up for skills training along with their formal education in 2016, two-thirds were undergoing training without certification. Only 10% men and 7% women were pursuing training with certification.

Youth who pursued training with certification was the highest among other castes (11%), top wealth households (12%) and urban locations (9%).

Among the 209 or 11% ‘persistently poor households’--stuck among the poorest third from 2002 to 2016--in the sample of those aged 15 in 2016, scheduled tribes had the largest share at 43.5%. Of 1,882 households, 203 or 97% persistently poor households were in rural areas.

Source: Young Lives India
Note: Persistently poor households are those that remained the poorest third from 2002 to 2016

Malnutrition is down to 28% among those aged 15 in 2016 from 36% in 2009. Among scheduled castes, 37.5% youth aged 15 were stunted in 2016 as against 17% among other castes.

Source: Young Lives India
Note: Stunting is defined as percentage of children shorter than the median child for an age group and gender

(Vivek is an analyst with IndiaSpend.)

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