Employment guarantee for women in India evidence on participation and rationing in the MGNREGA from the National Sample Survey

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), which guarantees employment of every rural household for 100 days, has different progressive provisions which incentivise higher participation of women in the programme. Official data suggest that 47% of all MGNREGA workers are women. This paper uses the National Sample Survey for the 68th employment-unemployment round (2011-12) to examine the performance of states in terms of participation and rationing of women in the programme relative to that of men. In addition, it documents these indicators from various sub-populations of women, including widows, mothers of young children, etc. who typically face serious constraints in the context of labour market participation. The study finds substantial variations both across states and sub populations implying the need for a differentiated policy focus across states to support women's access to and participation in the MGNREGA.