Notes on the Levels of Female Labour Force Participation Rates


The labour force participation rates for females vary tremendously from one country to another. It is evident from that while 61 per cent of the female population of Czechoslovakia participated in the labour force in 1991, hardly six per cent of the females in Algeria were economically active in 1987.

From the crude participation rates in different countries, it may be concluded that in the Socialist countries of Europe and in the Russia, the female labour force participation rates are very high.

In Muslim countries like Algeria, the participation of females in economic activity is very poor. Generally, female participation in the labour force is higher in the economically developed countries than in the economically backward countries.


It may be noted that, in most countries, census statistics are likely to understate the number of economically active women, as they are unpaid family workers.

As the majority of the females are housewives, they are engaged in productive activities only inside their homes. Despite the fact that they undertake the important jobs of child-bearing, child-rearing and home-making, they are not considered to be economically active. They are, however, certainly not dependent on the economy, as the children and the aged are.

Cultured influences are evident in the international picture of female labour force participation rates. In some African countries, it is the responsibility of women to till the land, sow the seeds and harvest the crop.

No wonder that high female labour force participation rates are observed in such countries. On the other hand, the custom of observing purdah in Muslim societies precludes the possibility of women engaging themselves in any activity outside their homes.


At the other extreme, we have the socialist countries, where equally of opportunity for both the sexes is emphasised, and where hardly any differences are observed in the labour participation rates of the two sexes.

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