The politico-legal, social and economic changes that have taken place during the past decades have definitely brought about perceptible changes in the status of women in the country.
Women in our country share too many responsibilities and perform a wide variety of duties in running the family, maintaining the household, attending to labour and domestic animals and extending a helping hand in artisanship and handicrafts. But most of the times her participation in work is considered as unpaid. Her role has never been evaluated as such in real economic terms. An important reason for neglecting female employment as a specific category either in research or policy is the ‘invisibility’ of their economic contribution, especially in the rural areas, and traditional interpretation of such concepts as ‘work’, ‘economic activities’, productivity, and work place.
During the recent years, women in large numbers have joined the labour force and taken up paid employment. Although women’s representation in the labour force is increasing still it is much lower to that of men. Women are largely confined to unpaid work and casual labour, while men concentrate on more valued forms of remunerative work. The informal/unorganised sector is a larger source of employment for women than men. The unorganised economy in India employs about 86 per cent of the country’s work-force and 91 per cent of its women workers.
Their earnings are necessary for sheer survival. Women are disproportionately represented in the unorganised sector, in non-standard and lower-paid forms of work, such as temporary and casual employment, part time jobs, home-based work, self- employment and work in micro enterprises. They face serious problems and constraints related to work such as low income, lack of continuity, insecurity, wage discrimination, unhealthy job relationship, absence of medical and accident care etc. The exploitation of female labourers in rural regions happens both horizontally and vertically. Thus, it is needed to address the issues and discuss the kind of policy reforms and institutional changes required for the emancipation and empowerment of rural female labour force. The present study aims at understanding the degree of vulnerability of the women workers in informal sector in India. Towards fulfilling this objective, this study has been conducted to find out the realities.
The women working in the unorganized sector are most vulnerable, ignored and diverse. Therefore, it is time to address their issues and discuss the kind of policy reforms and institutional changes required for their emancipation and empowerment. This present study will make an attempt to understand the socio-economic condition, nature of work, working condition and difficulties of women labourers working in the unorganised sector in India. It is hoped that this study will help in providing desired inputs to the policy makers, government functionaries, international agencies and all those who are engaged in the upliftment of the women workers working in the unorganised sector.