ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Housing, Homes and Domestic Work

A Study of Paid Domestic Workers from a Resettlement Colony in Chennai

Drawing from a study of work and livelihoods in Kannagi Nagar, Chennai's largest resettlement site, this paper reflects on paid domestic work as one among a limited range of occupations available to unskilled women workers in urban areas. It takes a spatial approach to analysing markets for urban domestic work, where issues of location, distance, travel, and timings are found to determine the opportunities for employment. In addition, it looks at domestic work against the background of larger employment markets for low-skilled female workers, and the range of options and preferences that frame it.

The authors would like to thank S Anandhi and J Devika for thoughtful and valuable comments on earlier drafts of this paper. They would also like to thank Sujata Mody from Penn Thozhilalar Sangam, and K R Renuka from the Centre for Women’s Development and Research, Chennai, both running unions for domestic workers, and their teams, as well as E Deepa and Shreela Manohar for assistance in the fieldwork.

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