• Data Watch: Number of literate and self-employed Muslim women on a rise

    In the midst of the triple talaq debate, there is a new discourse that has been completed neglected from the public eye. It is of the rising number of educated Muslim women in both rural and urban areas in the country. The percentage of Muslim women graduates’ growth in the period of 2001-11 as found out by the National Census report surpasses the national average growth in the same period. The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) survey has also assured of this trend.

    The NSSO report reveals that the rise of Muslim women attending academic institutions per 1000 persons in the age group of 0-29 is highest as compared to other religions during this period. Census data since 2001 shows that the growth in number of Muslim women graduates is at 168 percent while the national average of women graduates is 115 percent.

    “There is a rising desire among Indian Muslims for education. I have come across many cases where the male child of a family has dropped out and started working, while the family facilitates the education of the girl child,” says Dr Abdul Shaban, deputy director, Tata Institute of Social Sciences told Indian Express. “However, the benefit of this education in social terms can only be felt over a larger period of time.

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    Even after all the positive change seen in a span of over a decade, there is a dip in number of Muslim women in labour force in the same time frame. When in 2004-2005, 185 Muslim women in rural areas were in the labour force per 1000 persons, in 2011-2012, the numbers went down to 159 Muslim women. However, the overall dip in women from rural areas was a little over 10 percent than Muslim women.

    However, urban areas saw a larger decrease in the percentage of Muslim women leaving the labour force as compared to the total number of women by 1.92 percent.

    His dip in Muslim women in the workforce is because of lower level of empowerment programmes specifically for Muslim women. These women often find it difficult to get jobs because of their religion.

    “Without a broad range of empowerment initiatives, Muslim women will be unable to address their vulnerability. Unless critical masses of Muslim women are mobile and able to independently access state machinery, they will not be able to seek redress for the development deficit facing them,” states a report by Dr Amitabh Kundu, who headed the Post Sachar Evaluation Committee and reported by the above mentioned paper.

    This can be one of the reasons why there is an 85% increase in the number of Muslim self-employed women from urban areas as compared to a 10 per cent fall in the total number of women.

    picture credit- Wiki How

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