The notion 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 in Women and Work 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, Women and Work will be useful for students and scholars of sociology, economics, political science and women’s studies.