women dominate farming sector
Bhutanese women have always been engaged in agricultural, forestry and mining works while men were interested in more administrative and table works, reveals a recent labor ministry survey.
According to the Labor Force Survey 2009, some 65% of the Bhutanese population is engaged in agricultural and forestry activities, of which some 72% include the fairer sex.
Women in the manufacturing sector include 8.38% of the total women population: about 28,760 women compared to about just 4,341 men.
Further, mining and quarrying activities also recorded more women participation with some 0.20% while the number of men in this sector was the minimum with 0.12 %
Besides agricultural, forestry and manufacturing activities, community and other social services absorbed most of the women.
But men occupied most of the coveted jobs. The survey revealed that 14.66% of the male population occupied public administration and defense services over a 2.86% of the women population.
Hotels and restaurants saw 0.92% of the male population while female employees were only 0.86%.
As of October, this year, 27,188 people of the total population were unemployed, out of which 5.3% were female and 2.6% male.
According to the survey, the labor ministry has reported a steady rise in the rate of unemployment for the ninth time from about 2% in 2001 to 4% this year.
“It is a problem because we have never had such unemployment rate,” said the labor minister, Lyonpo Dorji Wangdi.
He said that such rates are not a very big issue in other countries, but for Bhutan, the rate itself may have an impact on the culture and tradition.
“When a youth is unemployed he/she may resort to drugs or prostitution, this will have a negative implication on our country’s rich ethnicity,” he said.
With some three fourth of the country’s population still residing in rural areas, the report stated a 3% rural unemployment rate.
“It is mainly because rural practices calls for a need for everyone to work, while in urban areas people have longer education period and one’s income can support several others, which is not possible in rural areas,” said an official of the labor ministry.
Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in the urban areas was over 7%. The youth unemployment rate has also increased to 12.9%.
According to the report, higher unemployment rates were particularly observed between the ages of 15 to 24.
Meanwhile, the total labor force which was 40.5% of the population in 2001 has increased to about 50% this year.
Further, the labor force participation rate, which is the proportion of the working age group, was found to be more in the rural areas (71.9%) than that of the urban areas (63.2%). The male participation rate was 72.8% while the female participation rate was 64.5%.
“The female workers in the workforce has seen a drastic increase from some 50% in 2006 to over 64% this year. That’s good news,” said the labor minister.