Women and Work

This course provides a nuanced understanding of the domain of women’s work, agency and empowerment in the context of India

Women’s participation in labour force has emerged as an important focus area in academic, practitioner and policy discourse in last couple of decades. The motivation stems from the widespread consensus that one key way to achieve gender equality is to create social conditions where women can contribute equally to the economy. The concerns dealt with, in this discourse, are primarily about increasing women’s participation in paid work, and removing social and other barriers that prevent women from doing so. Yet, the notion of work, economy, and value remain a gendered space, which tends to undermine women’s agency and their role as social change agents. Academic literature as well as knowledge from practice point to other nodes of gender equality, in the realm of power, agency, and knowledge. The notion of work, value, participation, agency, and empowerment go beyond the emphasis on labour force participation and related concerns.

Much of development interventions of the state and non-state actors presently focus on
creation of work and income opportunities for women through self-employment,
entrepreneurship, skilling, capital and other support, and safe environment for work.
Students of MA-Development will have to interface with such endeavours in various ways.
Its therefore necessary that students have a nuanced understanding and clarity of the space, and how the overall aims of gender equality can be furthered with such nuanced

Beginning with a broad based understanding of intersectionalities and nodes of gender
inequality. The course then is analyzed women’s work using three nodes in the settings of
agriculture-forestry, informal sector, formal sector, and migration. And finally, how women’s social movements have attempted to address the issues are explained. The course ends with a set of clear possibilities of action.