British Association for South Asian Studies

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31 October 2016

CfP: Women Workers Worldwide

Deadline: 10 November 2016

WWW: Women Workers Worldwide - Within and outside the shopfloor

Session at American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting, April 5-9 2017, Boston.

Session organisers: Kanchana N Ruwanpura (University of Edinburgh), Madhumita Dutta (Pennsylvania State University)

While survey worldwide data is increasingly suggesting that women's workforce participation rates are on the decline for both rural and urban areas (see NSS data for India, for instance), a public intervention by two leading Indian economists, C P Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh, asked the provocative and pertinent question whether women are really working less in India. By asking that question, the scholars challenged the very premise of what constituted work, especially in the context of women from poor working households.

Feminists have long argued for ‘expanding’ the definition of work beyond wage work to include ‘unpaid’ reproductive work (Federici, 2008), and the work of politics and community activism (England and Lawson, 2005: 77). A feminist lens has opened up ‘analysis of diverse sites of work’ – ‘formal’ workplaces, homework and ‘unregulated’ sites (England and Lawson, 2005:78). They have challenged the binaries of public-private/inside-outside/work-non-work to expose how these binaries profoundly impact women’s lives and labour. As England and Lawson (2005: 78) write ‘feminist geographers continue to challenge limited conceptualizations of ‘work’ and articulate the ways gendered spatial division of labour between ‘productive’ and ‘reproductive’ spaces produce a series of exclusions and devaluation of the many types of work that women do’.

In this session, we would like to travel between the ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ world of women’s labour to understand and situate ‘work’ in the different spaces inhabited by women and how they perceive, make sense of, respond and experience work at different sites often intersected by unequal social relations of gender, caste, ethnicity, race, class. We welcome papers from anyone broadly trying to connect the dots between women’s world(s) of labour troubling the boundaries and binaries and making methodological contributions to geographies of work and labour.

Kindly send abstract no later than 10th November 2016 to:
Kanchana N. Ruwanpura: kanchana.ruwanpura@ed.ac.uk
Madhumita Dutta: mud287@psu.edu