What does NFHS-5 data tell us about state of women empowerment in India

What is the News?

India aims to achieve United Nations-mandated Sustainable Development Goal-5, which focuses on women empowerment and gender equality, by 2030. To measure the progress of women’s rights in the country, National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-5 provides data regarding the position of women for 2019-21 on a few key indicators.

Must read: NFHS-5 and its findings – Explained, pointwise
What are the findings of NFHS-5 on women empowerment?

Participation in household decision-making: Nearly 88.7% of currently married Indian women tend to participate in the key household decision about healthcare for themselves, make major household purchases and visit family or relatives.

At least 16 out of 28 states and 6 out of 8 Union territories have more than 90% women participating in household decision-making, a significant jump from 11 states and 2 UTs in the NFHS-4 survey.

Read more: Reading sex ratio trends in NFHS-5 data
Source: DTE

Participation in paid works: Only 25.4% of women aged 15-49 years who worked in the last 12 months were paid in cash. This figure is abysmally low with almost negligible improvement from the last survey (2015-16). None of the states crossed the 50 per cent mark in this category.

Owning a bank or savings account: Among all selected indicators, the percentage of women having a savings/bank account that they themselves use has made the most significant improvement.

At the national level, India has seen a 35.6 percentage point jump within a matter of five years. This progress could be credited to schemes like Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana and the increasing microfinance initiatives over the past five years.

Owning a mobile phone: There has been a small increase in women’s access to mobile phones over the last half-a-decade. The figure has gone up from 45.9 per cent to 54 per cent between the two surveys. Except for Haryana and Chandigarh, all states have shown a positive trend in this category.

Read more: Don’t ignore context of NFHS data

The Gender Development Index had mentioned India’s position at 140th among 156 countries, thus there is always room for improvement and greater efforts need to be made for rapid transformation of women’s position in our society.

Source: This post is based on the article “What does NFHS-5 data tell us about state of women empowerment in India” published in Down To Earth on 31st December 2021.

Print Friendly and PDF