Transgender individuals in India face many challenges, one of which is high rates of unemployment. Discrimination, prejudice, and lack of access to education and employment opportunities all contribute to the high rates of unemployment among the transgender community. In this blog, we will explore the issue of transgender unemployment in India and the laws and acts that are meant to protect and promote the rights of transgender individuals.
Transgender individuals often referred to as hijras, aravanis, or kinnars in India, are individuals who identify with a gender that is different from the sex assigned to them at birth. They have been part of Indian culture and society for centuries and have historically held significant roles in society as performers, healers, and spiritual leaders. However, in recent times, transgender individuals have been marginalized and discriminated against in society, leading to high rates of unemployment and poverty.
According to a study conducted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2016, the unemployment rate among transgender individuals in India is as high as 90%. This is due to various factors such as discrimination in the workplace, lack of education and skills training, and limited access to employment opportunities.
The discrimination faced by transgender individuals in India is not limited to the workplace but is also prevalent in education, housing, healthcare, and other areas of life. Transgender individuals are often denied access to education and face harassment and discrimination in schools and colleges. This lack of education and training makes it difficult for them to acquire the necessary skills and qualifications required for employment in today's job market.
The discrimination and marginalisation of transgender individuals are also reflected in the laws and policies of India. Until recently, transgender individuals were not recognized as a separate gender and were forced to choose between male or female on official documents. This led to many problems, including denial of education, healthcare, and employment opportunities.
In 2014, the Supreme Court of India recognized transgender individuals as a third gender and directed the government to take steps to ensure their social and economic welfare. In 2016, the government passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, which provides for the protection of transgender individuals' rights and prohibits discrimination against them. The act provides for the right to education, employment, healthcare, and other basic rights and recognizes the right to self-perceived gender identity.
The act also establishes a National Council for Transgender Persons, which is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the act and advising the government on policies and programs for the welfare of transgender individuals. The council also has the power to investigate complaints of discrimination and take appropriate action.
While the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act is a significant step towards protecting and promoting the rights of transgender individuals, there are concerns about its implementation. The act has been criticised for being ambiguous and for not adequately addressing the issue of discrimination faced by transgender individuals. There have also been concerns about the lack of representation of transgender individuals in the National Council for Transgender Persons.
How to combat transgender unemployment in India
1. Create Awareness: It is important to create awareness about the rights and needs of transgender people in India. This can be done through campaigns, seminars, talks, and other means.
2. Create Job Opportunities: Companies and organisations should create job opportunities for transgender people by hiring them for various positions, creating internships, and offering training and other support.
3. Provide Economic Support: Government should provide economic support to the transgender community by offering grants, loans, and other financial assistance.
4. End Discrimination: It is necessary to end discrimination against the transgender community in India by providing them with equal rights and opportunities.
5. Enhance Education Opportunities: The government should provide educational opportunities and create awareness about the rights and needs of transgender people. This will help them acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to find a job and be successful.
In conclusion, high rates of unemployment among transgender individuals in India are a result of discrimination, prejudice, and lack of access to education and employment opportunities. The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, passed in 2016, provides for the protection of transgender individuals' rights and prohibits discrimination against them. However, there are concerns about its implementation, and more needs to be done to ensure the social and economic welfare of transgender individuals in India. It is essential to create awareness about the issue and to work towards creating a more inclusive and accepting society that values diversity and respects the rights of all individuals, regardless of their gender identity.