Around 85 per cent of female labourers are involved in the work in Nepal, according to a International Labour Organisation's (ILO) latest report.
Due to cultural attitudes and social norms about women in the work-place, most South Asian countries exhibit very low rates of female labour force participation. But labour force participation rates in 2011, according to ILO estimates, are much lower for women than men in all South Asian countries except for Nepal, where female labour force participation rates were still nonetheless lower than men’s.
Overall, the estimated labour force participation rate for women in South Asia is just 31.8 per cent (2012), which only exceeds the rates for the Middle East (18.7 per cent) and North Africa (24.4 per cent), it said, adding that ultimately, while the process of structural transformation in South Asia has begun, its scope and direction is uncertain. "In particular, it remains unclear whether the manufacturing sector will beable to absorb large numbers of job-seekers in countries like India.
The share of employment in agriculture is still large in India (51.1 per cent in 2010) and Nepal (65.7 per cent in 2001), while the service sector represents a major share in most countries, particularly in Maldives (60 per cent in 2006) and Sri Lanka (40.4 per cent in 2010). The share in industry does not exceed 25 per cent in South Asia and is in fact much lower when looking at just manufacturing workers.
Unemployment rates in South Asia are low with the regional average projected to be just 3.8 per cent in 2012, which is the lowest rate globally. However, as witnessed around the world, youth in South Asia is far more vulnerable to unemployment because young people lack the right skills, work experience and job search experience, adding to the overall demand-side deficits, the report said. "The estimated youth unemployment rate for South Asia is 9.6 per cent, over two times higher than the overall unemployment rate, but one of the lowest regional figures."
One factor driving the situation is skills and education mismatches, many South Asians are leaving school or university without skills that are demanded by employers and due to long entrenched aspirations, many of these young people 'queue' for a job in the public sector or leave for the foreign employment.