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

Domestic WorkSubscribe to Domestic Work

Indian Courts and the Politics of Recognising Women’s Unpaid Care Work

In this episode, we speak to Prabha Kotiswaran about how Indian courts value women's unpaid domestic work.

An Ode to Altruism

Feminists have demonstrated how the invisibility and lack of recognition of unpaid domestic and care work result in gender inequality and women’s disempowerment. Discussions of the role of law in reinforcing this invisibility is limited and focused on family law. This paper shall look at tort law, namely a review of compensation awarded to the dependents of homemakers, between 1968 and 2019, under the Indian Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The growing recognition of women’s UDCW by Indian appellate courts, culminating in an influential Supreme Court decision in 2010, is traced. This “wages for housework” jurisprudence is then marshalled to probe the redistributive function of tort law.

How Much Time Is Too Much Time?

The fi erce debates surrounding the issue of unpaid domestic labour in the 21st century have resulted in political parties promising to monetise the work undertaken by housewives in India. The recent “Time Use in India 2019” report released by the National Statistical Offi ce adds to the discourse that problematises the disproportionate differences in domestic division of labour between women and men. This article uses the larger fi ndings of the NSO survey to probe the pattern of time-use at the national and state level that may be explained by pre-existing gender norms and behaviours.

The Continuing Saga of Women’s Work during COVID-19

This paper employs a social reproduction framework to argue that the two main institutions of capitalism—the markets and the state—have failed to adequately provide for the working people of India during the pandemic while fostering gender inequities. While the demand for gender equity in the domestic sphere and the workplace is not new, the pandemic further underscores its urgency.

Lockdown Humour and Domestic Work: Perpetuating Gender Roles

The lockdown during COVID-19 resulted in the overburdening of work for Indian women. Memes were circulated on this and the unenthusiastic participation of men. By analysing humour, the article asserts that the memes reinforce the gendered divisions of domestic labour and the hierarchy within the family.

The Regulatory Myopia of ‘Work from Home’

Work from home cannot be isolated from other types of work taking place in the home.

Women’s Unpaid Work

Mainstreaming Unpaid Work: Time Use Data in Developing Policies edited by Indira Hirway, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2017; pp 430, ₹ 1,195.

Where are the Laws to Protect the Rights of Domestic Workers in India?

The rampant abuse faced by domestic workers urgently necessitates a national policy to provide social and economic protection

Tribal Migrant Women as Domestic Workers in Mumbai

Focusing on female migrant domestic workers from Jharkhand, this article looks at their lives before and after migration. Jharkhand witnesses heavy migration and mobility to cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, especially female migration. Girls and young women coming from marginalised communities migrate through different means and organisations like placement agencies, religious institutions or with the help of friends or relatives. Most of them get into the unorganised sector such as domestic work. Lack of social security measures continues to be a major challenge and a source of distress for these workers.

The Plight of Domestic Workers

Domestic work has increasingly become part of the global division of labour and inextricably integrated within it. While migration for domestic work is an opportunity, in the absence of social protection, it also renders such workers more vulnerable. This essay takes its cue from how the feminist movement has approached the contradictions within domestic work and the various problems that domestic workers face. It throws light on the multiple hierarchies that the domestic worker is confronted with, as also the peculiar problems that the Indian domestic worker confronts. It explores a whole lot of different aspects of the domestic employer-employee relation within the context of the near absence of state intervention and the lack of legal protection. It also delves into the attempts that some trade unions, NGOs and church-affiliated organisations have made to bring protective measures and organise domestic workers to win labour rights.

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