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  • ActionAid Association, R - 7, Hauz Khas Enclave, New Delhi - 110016 +91-11-4064 0500

    actionaidindia @actionaid_india @actionaidcomms

    Invisible WorkInvisible Workers

    The Sub-Economies of Unpaid Work and Paid WorkAction Research on Women's Unpaid Labour

  • i

    Invisible WorkInvisible Workers

    The Sub-Economies of Unpaid Work and Paid WorkAction Research on Women's Unpaid Labour

  • Invisible Work, Invisible WorkersThe Sub-Economies of Unpaid Work and Paid WorkAction Research on Womens Unpaid Labour

    Lead Researcher: Prof. Ritu Dewan

    Research Team: Indira Rani, Ravi SK, Radha Sehgal, Aruna Kanchi, Swati Raju

    Advisory Team: Sona Mitra, Prof. Indira Hirway, Late Prof. Preet Rustagi, Dipa Sinha

    Implementing Partners: Maharashtra - Dr. Ambedkar Sheti Vikas Va Sanshodhan Sanstha (ASVSS), Solapur; Social Action for Literacy & Health (SALAH), Thane and Maharashtra Regional Office, ActionAid India, Mumbai. Telangana - Informal Workers Mobilization Initiative (IWMI), Greater Hyderabad region and Andhra Pradesh & Telangana Regional Office, ActionAid India, Hyderabad. Uttarakhand - Association for Rural Planning & Action (ARPAN), Askot, Pithoragarh and Uttar Pradesh & Uttarakhand Regional Office, ActionAid India, Lucknow.

    Cover Photograph: Basanti, of Kalika village, Dharchula tehsil, Pithoragarh district, Uttarakhand, aspires to become a farm owner. Photo Credit: Soumi Das | ActionAid

    Title Page Photograph: Marigi Durgamma with her daughter Bharathi and her grandchildren in Kadapalem, Vishakapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. Photo Credit: Poulomi Basu | ActionAid

    First Published 2017

    This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International Licence. Provided they acknowledge the source, users of this content are allowed to remix, tweak, build upon and share for non-commercial purposes under the same original licence terms.

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    ActionAid Association, R - 7, Hauz Khas Enclave, New Delhi - 110016 Phone: 91-11-4064 0500

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    An Imprintof

  • Dedicated to the memory of Prof. Preet Rustagi and her tireless efforts for the cause of womens and

    girls rights in the arena of work.

  • v

    ContentsForeword vii

    Acknowledgements ixAbbreviations xi

    Chapter 1Introduction and Research Design 1

    1.1: Introduction 11.2: DiacriticIntensificationoftheGenderedWorkContinuum: 2 ConceptualSituatingofApproachesandEstimators1.3: ResearchDesign 41.4: LiteratureandPolicyEvaluation 51.5: SelectionoftheStudyRegions 71.6: PrimaryDataAnalysis:SampleDesignandInterpretation 101.7: Limitations 111.8: Conclusion 12

    Chapter 2Revisiting the Unpaid Work Discourse 13

    2.1: Introduction 132.2: DefiningUnpaidWork 132.3: GenderDimensionsofUnpaidWork 142.4: ImplicationsofUnpaidWorkonWomen 142.5: UnpaidLaborandtheEconomy:TheUnpaid-PaidWorkLink 162.6: MacroeconomicPolicyforUnpaid-PaidWorkBalance:the3Rs 172.7: Conclusion 20

    Chapter 3Conceptual Underpinnings of Unpaid Work: Overview of Indian Literature 23

    3.1: Introduction 23 3.2: TheoreticalandConceptualDiscussion 243.3: MeasurementandValuationofWomensUnpaidWork 253.4: UnpaidWork,theMacroeconomyandPolicy 273.5: SelectedStudiesofSpecialRelevance 283.6: Conclusion 30

    Chapter 4Through the Unpaid Work Lens: Desk Review of Laws, Policies and Schemes 31 at National and Regional Levels 4.1: Conclusion 314.2: Energy 324.3: Water 374.4: Care 404.5: InterventionsSpecifictoAgriculturalWorkers 514.6: InterventionsSpecifictoConstructionWorkers 564.7. PolicyRecommendations 59

  • Chapter 5Capturing the Gendered Work Continuum 615.1: Introduction 615.2: DataInterpretationandGaps 625.3: DemographicsandDevelopment 635.4: GenderedTimeSpentPattern 725.5: TimeDistributionPatterns:WomenWorkersinGeneral 95 andFemale-headedHouseholds5.6: GenderedActivityParticipationRatios 995.7: Conclusion 101

    Chapte 6A Conclusion in Continuum 1036.1: Introduction 103

    6.2: MacroeconomicContextofWomensWork 103

    6.3: Policies:Evidence-basedCritique,EvaluationandArticulation 104

    6.4: FeminizationofUnpaidandPaidWorkActivities 107

    6.5: TheStressBurdenofSustainabilityandSubsistence 108

    6.6: TheUnpaidWorkandPaidWorkEconomies 109

    6.7: ConceptualandMethodologicalLearnings 111

    Appendices 113

    Bibliography 207

  • vii

    FOREWORDIt is an unequal world for women. Womens inequality is perpetuated by a number of obstacles, and among them the most insidious and universal of these is their economic disenfranchisement. Across the world the overwhelming majority of women own minimal property, receive unequal wages, face unequal conditions at work and the labour they do is un-recognized and rendered invisible. Economic vulnerabilities of women are often the basis for other forms of discrimination and oppression, including violence.

    In India, despite the quest for equality in property ownership and in wages, as seen in advances made in law and jurisprudence on the issue, the actual dispossession of women and the wide spread prevalence of unequal wages is several times justified in society. In contrast to other re-emerging economies the participation of women in the workforce, which was low to begin with, has been declining. In the last decade, 21 million women have exited the workforce in India. Unpaid, unrecognized drudgery in domestic and other spheres continues to be justified through tired tropes of feminine work.

    Invisible Work, Invisible Workers - The Sub-Economies of Unpaid Work and Paid Work has emerged from action research across rural and urban contexts on the issue of womens unpaid labour in three states of India Maharashtra, Telangana and Uttarakhand. Working with women engaged in the informal sector, we have tried to locate womens work within the overall macroeconomic scenario, and tried to explore the linkages between paid and unpaid economies.

    The gendered work continuum is comprised of a deeply complex interplay of structures. In the context of unpaid work, there are a number of issues surrounding the calculation and collection of data. Invisible Work, Invisible Workers is somewhat of an exploratory attempt at unravelling the structures at play. We hope that its findings, both based on analysis of secondary data and primary field-based surveys, can provide a strong foundation and a bank of material for future debates and action surrounding gendered work. Invisible Work, Invisible Workers is an attempt not only to understand the dimensions of womens work, but also to assist and spur discourse and discussion to bring to light areas of policy that will lead to societal advance and help build equality for women in spheres of work.

    The research demonstrates the need to recognize and understand the multiplicity and simultaneity of womens work, and move towards creating grass-roots based systems of recognising, reducing and redistributing unpaid work that falls on women and restricts their participation in society and the economy, as un-recognized and unpaid drudgery infringes on time that could be dedicated to education, leisure and rest. It was found that 80% of the women surveyed expressed the simple desire for sleep.

    We are extremely grateful to all the people associated with this report. To Prof. Ritu Dewan, the lead researcher of this effort, we express our deep appreciation for the insightful hard work she has put in to the research project and the preparation of this report. This research would not have been possible without the support of UN Women, we thank our colleagues from UN Women for their contributions to the research.

    I would like to thank express gratitude to the great efforts of Dr. Ambedkar Sheti Vikas Va Sanshodhan Sanstha (ASVSS), Solapur; Social Action for Literacy & Health (SALAH), Thane in Maharashtra, Informal Workers Mobilization Initiative (IWMI), Greater Hyderabad region, Telangana and Association for Rural Planning & Action (ARPAN), Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand for participating in this action research, facilitating the interaction with women in the informal sector and for their commitment to use the findings to enhance their interventions in the cause of womens rights in the arena of work.

    I would like to express my pride and gratitude to my colleagues in ActionAid for their efforts on this project and for bringing this much-needed report into circulation.

  • viiiInvisible Work, Invisible Workers-The Sub-Economies of Unpaid Work and Paid Work

    Action Research on Womens Unpaid Labour

    We are deeply saddened at the tragic demise of Prof. Preet Rustagi, who has contributed so much to the study of womens work and also helped us in this report. We are proud to dedicate this report to her mem-ory and as tribute to her contributions to the cause of women and women workers.

    We look forward to hearing comments, suggestions and feedback from all of our readers.

    In solidarity,

    Sandeep Chachra Executive Director ActionAid India

  • ix

    AcknowledgementsWe are grateful to the women of Sonand and Dongargaon villages in Sangola taluka, Solapur district and the localities of Ramabai Nagar, in Ulhasnagar Taluka and Shailesh Nagar and Uday Nagar, in Mumbra Taluka, both in Thane District coming under the Greater Mumbai area