The notion of ‘work and employment’ of ‘work and employment’ for women is complex. While economic factors predominantly determine a man’s participation in employment, the reasons why women work, or do not work, or whether they work part-time or full-time, can be diverse and are often rooted in a complex interplay of economic, cultural, social and personal factors.
In India, as in most other parts of the world, fewer women participate in employment compared to men. This is the backdrop against which Women and Work analyses a wide range of issues—from what counts for ‘work’ to the economic contribution of women to how gendering of work has many significant and related consequences.
The introduction talks of how oppression faced by wage-earning women is the result of patriarchal norms and capitalist relations of production. It also demonstrates how policies and programmes anchored around data based on national income accounts and/or labour force surveys seriously disadvantage women in more ways than one.
Divided into four sections, the articles focus on women engaged in varied work—paddy-growers in West Bengal, beedi-rollers in Tamil Nadu, laceworkers in Andhra Pradesh and bardancers in Maharashtra—all of whom live and work in dismal conditions, and earn paltry incomes.
Bringing together well-known sociologists and economists, this volume will be useful for students and scholars of sociology, economics, political science and women’s studies.
Padmini Swaminathan is Professor, Centre for Women’s Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.
List of Tables and Figures
Section I: Conceptualising Work, Mapping Complexity
1. Women Craft Workers as Security for Family Subsistence
2. Dynamics of Sexual Division of Labour and Capital Accumulation: Women Lace-Workers of Narsapur
3. Work Participation of Rural Women in the Third World: Some Data and Conceptual Biases
4. High Participation, Low Evaluation: Women and Work in Rural Haryana
5. Tracing a Timeline for Work and Family Research in India
Ujvala Rajadhyaksksha and Swati Smita
Section II: Imparting Visibility, Interrogating Data Systems
6. Muddy Feet, Dirty Hands: Rice Production and Female Agricultural Labour
Joan P. Mencher and K. Saradamoni
7. Valuing Work: Time as a Measure
8. Employment and Unemployment Situation in the 1990s: How Good is NSS Data?
9. Girl Children in the Care Economy: Domestics in West Bengal
Deepita Chakravarty and Ishita Chakravarty
Section III: Forms of Labour, Conditions of Work: Sectoral Perspectives
10. Women’s Paid Domestic Work and 243
Rural Transformation: A Study in South Gujarat
11. Resilience of Gender Inequities: Women and Employment in Chennai
J. Jeyaranjan and Padmini Swaminathan
12. Disempowered despite Wage Work: Women Workers in Beedi Industry
13. Development Process and the Status of Women: Tanning Industry in Tamil Nadu
14. Feminist Contributions from the Margins: Shifting Conceptions of Work and Performance of the Bar Dancers of Mumbai
Forum against Oppression of Women
Section IV: Critiquing Policies: Implications and Consequences for Work
15. Rural Energy Scarcity and Nutrition: A New Perspective
16. Women’s Work is Never Done: Dairy ‘Development’ and Health in the Lives of Rural Women in Rajasthan
Miriam Sharma with the assistance of Urmila Vanjani
17. Women and Pro-Poor Policies in Rural Tamil Nadu: An Examination of Practices and Responses
List of Authors