Globalisation, Gender and Employment Relations in India

Globalisation, Gender and
Employment Relations in India
Prof. Vibhuti Patel
Head, Department of Economics
SNDT Women’s University,
Smt. Nathibai Road, Churchgate, Mumbai-400020
Phone-+91-22-22052970, [email protected]
Globalisation-A Historical Context
• Marked feature of neo liberal policy is
enlightened self- interest activated through
market forces.
• Impact on urban, rural and dalit /tribal poor
women as paid, underpaid and unpaid
workers of the economy
• During the 1990s, employment of middle-aged
men and women decreased and employment of
adolescent girls and child labour increased.
Women were and are given less skilled and
underpaid jobs.
The Asian Scenario
• South Asian (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Srilanka,
Nepal) and South East Asian (Thailand, Indonesia,
Philippines, Malaysia) countries, Indochina (Laos,
Kampuchea and Vietnam) and China are flooded with
Sweatshops, ghetto labour markets and stigmatised
migrant workers.
• ASEAN countries have established of Special Economic
Zones that ensure flexibalisation of the labour force to
attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
• The relationship between the formal sector and the
decentralised sector is a dependent relationship where
the formal sector has control over capital and markets
and the 'informal' sector works as an ancillary.
• New Globalisation triangles-hub for finance capital,
manufacturing hubs and suppliers of cheap labour
New Forms of Plunder
Primitive accumulation in its classical form included
 plunder,
 slavery and
 colonialism,
while primitive accumulation in the contemporary period
 Sweat-shops,
 labour concentration camps and
 criminalisation of the working class coupled with superexploitation of the same.
Women are the last colony
Stabilisation Policies and SAP
• As a result of Structural Adjustment Programme
(SAP), sacked/ retrenched formal sector workers
and employees are forced to work in the informal
sector. Victims of Voluntary Retirement Scheme
have downward economic mobility, “From blue
collar to no collar”.
• Rationalisation, mechanisation and automation
have had labour reducing implications.
• Budgetary cuts for balwadis and crèches enhanced the
burden of poor working women. FTZs and EPZs thrive
on young women’s super-exploitation. The employers
overlook occupational health hazards.
Ethnic & Communal Tensions
• Co-existence of high wage islands in the sea of
pauperised working class has enhanced human
misery and social conflict in the context of massive
reduction in the welfare budgets of the nation states in
South Asia and South East Asia.
• With rising ethnic and communal tension
jeopardising economic activities, visible and
invisible activities of underground extra-legal
economy is displaying a tendency to expand.
• Stigmatisation as well as instrumentalist use of
Bangladeshi workers in India, migrant workers in
Patwardhan’s film Hamara sheher in the 1980s
Dual Economy Model
EDUCATION & SKILLS get differential wages due to
casualisation of the workforce. Introduction of
contract system in public sector has
institutionalised dual economy model.
• Differential Wage Policies in public as well as private
Permanent workers/employees
Adhoc /Consolidated salaried workers
Daily wagers
Clock hour workers
Subcontracting by male workers to women workers-menial chores
railways, banks, teachers in educational institutions
Job & Wage Discrimination
• Immigrants face job discrimination in pre-entry
phase & wage discrimination in post entry phase.
• Migrant workers remain the first to be fired and
the last to be hired.
• Dualistic Models promotes differentiation based
on language, caste, religion, gender, age,
migration status, ethnic background and
exclusion from informal networks (Cooperative
societies, social clubs, associations, cultural
organisations) for upward economic mobility.8
External Sector
• Majority of the toiling poor rot in the external sector
in which real wages change at disparate rates.
• Institutions like extended family, caste and village
nexus play an important role in providing safety nets
to migrant workers.
perpetuating the law of jungle in the industrial
scenario. As a result a situation arises where legal
apartheid faced by micro-entrepreneurs at the foot of
the economy.
• Workers in casual sector are predominantly young
and single men and women, while workers in regular
sector are older and married.
Segmentation in the Labour Market
• Segmentation begins in the rural areas where
the asset-less poor in the margin of economy
migrate to the cities. Asset owners in rural as
well as urban areas are deriving maximum
advantage of Globalisation.
1. Income differs widely between these segments.
2. Mobility between them is limited
• The asset-less poor women are most adversely affected
by globalisation as traditional support systems of
kinship and extended family networks have been
• Displacement due to mega development project
renders poor women homeless and unemployed.
•Researches by women’s studies scholars and
gender economists in Asia (APDC, Gabriella,
CAW), Africa (AAWORD) and Latin America
(DAWN) over last 2 decades have shown that
 Globalisation has enhanced patriarchal control over
sexuality, fertility
labour by
superimposing commercial values on the conventional
values throughout the world.
• Globalisation has accentuated survival struggles
of households managed by single, widowed,
divorced, separated and deserted women.
Arjun Sengupta Committee’s Report
• The Arjun Sengupta Committee report (2006) is a stark
reminder of the huge size and poor conditions in this
sector. The Report has revealed that in India, almost
370 million people- more than 85% of the working
population in India work in the unorganised sector.
• Of these, at least 120 million are women. They
contribute around 60% to the national economic
output of the country.
• Around 28 crore work in the rural sector, of which an
estimated 22 crore are in the agricultural sector.
Around 6 crore are in urban areas. Women make up
11-12 crore, of which around 8 crore are engaged in
Concerns of Women in the Workforce
•The Employment Guarantee Scheme needs to be expanded and improved for
urban workers. The focus of such employment schemes can be enhancement and
constant up gradation of skills.
•The National Renewal Fund should be extended to cover the unorganized sector
and a substantial part should go into the retraining of workers.
• Social audit of Janani Suraksha Yojana on maternal health
•Crèches should be provided for children of all workers and not merely
women workers irrespective of the number of employees. There could be a
common fund for each industry.
•Social Audit of Workers rights, existing legislations on social security and
social protection of workers
•Urgent need for Prevention of Sexual Harassment of Women at Work-place Act
• Gender audit of Budget is an important tool in the hands of state for affirmative
action for improvement of gender relations through reduction of gender gap in the
development process. It can help to reduce economic inequalities, between men
and women as well as between the rich and the poor.
•Food security, public health, vocational training
•Housing, land rights, relocation and rehabilitation of the displaced
The National Renewal Fund must be extended to
cover the unorganized sector and a substantial
part should go into the retraining of workers.
Creches must be provided for children of all
workers and not merely women workers
irrespective of the number of employees.
There could be a common fund for each industry.
Implementation of the Unorganised Sector Social
Security Act 2008 is the most crucial step for
ensuring basic human rights of informal sector
workers and for humanizing employment
relations for women workers.
Think & Act ,
Locally & Globally.
Thank You

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