Women at Work

A multimedia project that explores the lives of working women in India

About the project

India has one of the lowest female participation rates on the workforce. In a country that will soon be the most populated on Earth, and that will be driving the global economy, nearly half of the population remains is kept away from this growth.

Women at work is a multimedia project that explores the lives of working women in India. For months, I have travelled across the country to speak with women who face innumerable obstacles to access paid work.

These are their stories.
Across India, an invisible legion of women work under the radar, in unrecognised and underpaid jobs. Millions of them don’t appear in the official figures, but they work, and very hard: taking care of the house, the children, the elderly and sick; cooking, cleaning, farming…

My family has always worked in construction.We never had an education. Now, my daughters are studying, and I hope they will be able to find a better job.

Sailila
Construction worker

We often think about women from poorer backgrounds as victims, but I completely disagree. There is a lot of potential, all they need is a platform to show it.

Nilanjana
Advocacy director, AZAD Foundation

I find gender classes the most interesting. I learn a lot about my rights, I was never aware of all the rights that I’m entitled to as a worker and as a woman.

Padmani
Driver Trainee, Women in Wheels program

There are very strict social norms about the implications of women’s work on family honour, on childcare… Women need to challenge those norms for them to change.

Mandakinie Surie
Senior Program Officer, ASIA Foundation

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Female Workforce Participation Rate
The Data

According to the ILO, the female participation in the workforce has been dropping in India for the past 10 years. Do these figures reflect the reality?