The five states with the largest proportion of literate women — Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra — account for 53 per cent (4.3 million) of all business establishments owned by women nationwide, although no more than 33 per cent of India’s women live in these states, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of data released by the Economic Census 2012.
With 73.4 per cent of its women literate, Tamil Nadu — third among larger states after Kerala and Maharashtra — has India’s largest number of establishments run by women, one million (13.5 per cent of all businesses), according to the Economic Census 2012.
Tamil Nadu is followed by Kerala — with 90 per cent female literacy, India’s highest rate — where 11 per cent of all businesses are run by women.
The two leaders are followed by Andhra Pradesh (59.1 per cent female literacy rate and 10.5 per cent businesses owned by women), Bengal (70.5 and 10.3 per cent) and Maharashtra (75.9 and 8.2 per cent).
While the female literacy rate was 65.5 per cent nationwide, the female work-force participation was 25.5 per cent, according to Census 2011.
Female participation in India’s workforce has declined from 34 per cent in 1999 to 27 per cent in 2014, IndiaSpend reported in August 2016, the worst rate among BRICS nations and lower than Bangladesh (57.4 per cent), Nepal (79.9 per cent) and Sri Lanka (35.1 per cent).
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