South Asian (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal), South East Asia (Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia) countries, Indochina (Laos, Kampuchea and Vietnam) and China is flooded with Sweatshops, ghetto labour markets and stigmatised migrant workers.
To attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), ASEAN countries have established of Special Economic Zones, Export Processing Zones, Free Trade Zones, Coastal Development Zones that would ensure the labour force that is not covered by protective labour laws and social security.
Primitive accumulation in its classical form included plunder, slavery and colonialism, while capitalist accumulation in the contemporary period includes sweat- shops, labour concentration camps, stigmatised production processes and criminalisation of the working class.
Dr. Arjun Sengupta Committee Report, 2006 on unorganised workers managing their lives with Rs. 20/- per day among whom women constitute 60% of the total work force.
Social Security f0r Workers in Unorganised Sector Act, 2008.
As a result of Structural Adjustment Programme, sacked/ retrenched formal sector workers and employees are forced to work in the informal sector for precarious wages. Victims of Voluntary Retirement Scheme have downward economic mobility. Women in their families are multitasking-paid and unpaid work.
Rationalisation, mechanisation and automation have had labour reducing implications .
Co-existence of high wage islands in the sea of pauperised working class has enhanced human misery and social conflict in the context of massive reduction in the welfare budgets of the nation states in South Asia and South East Asia.
With rising ethnic and communal tension jeopardising economic activities, visible and invisible activities of underground extra-legal economy is displaying a tendency to expand.
INDIVIDUALS WITH SIMILAR LEVELS OF EDUCATION & SKILLS get differential wages due to casualisation of the workforce. Introduction of contract system in public sector has institutionalised neo-liberal dual economy model.
Majority of the toiling poor rot in the external sector in which real wages change at disparate rates.
Institutions like extended family, caste and village nexus play an important role in providing safety nets to migrant workers.
GHETTO LABOUR MARKETS
Burgeoning GHETTO LABOUR MARKETS are perpetuating the law of jungle in the industrial scenario. As a result a situation arises where legal apartheid faced by micro-entrepreneurs at the foot of the economy.
Workers in casual sector are predominantly young and single men and women, while workers in regular sector are older and married.
Segmentation begins in the rural areas where the asset-less poor in the margin of economy migrate to the cities.
Dual economy thrives on discrimination based on gender relations, caste, religion, language, parent’s education, family occupation, migration status and age.
1. Income differs widely between these segments. 2. Mobility between them is limited.
3. Women are at the bottom of pyramid.
Globalisation has enhanced patriarchal control over women’s sexuality, fertility and labour by superimposing commercial values on the conventional values throughout the world. Feminist economists can play a crucial role in motivating the nation-states and the global decision-making bodies to be pro-active in furthering women’s entitlements in the households, economy and governance. Women’s groups are making global effort to change macro-policies, programmes of the nation-state and actions at the local level by the government and non-government bodies. Engendering social protection and social security policies-welfare measures, promotive, income maintenance and protective dimensions of social security-Right to food, MG NAREGA, Mid Day Meal, strengthening Public distribution system, implementation of the social Security Act, 2008.
Rapid pace of economic globalisation and global economic downturn 2008 onwards has brought massive uncertainties in women’s lives. Multi-faced tragedies due to
marketisation of poor economies and commercialisation of human relations, high male unemployment & entry of women as low wage substitutes
commoditization of women’s bodies especially in sexual trafficking,
advertisements and beauty-contests promoted by the Trans-national corporations (TNCs) and Multi-national Corporations (MNCs),
starvation deaths in the rural areas, farmers’ suicides
havoc played by onslaught of new reproductive technologies, of both pro and anti-natalist varieties, racist population control policies, sex selective abortions of female foetuses, surrogacy violating dignity and bodily integrity of women
increasing economic disparity, the feminisation of poverty,
disasters in the name of mega development projects resulting into massive displacement of peoples, stressful life leading to increasing violence against women,
the pandemic of HIV and AIDS, armed conflicts
persistent racism, casteism, sexism, chauvinism and extremism
Gender sensitive strategic thinking can address practical and strategic gender needs of women. For example, more women in more areas of economic activities can be gainfully and justly employed. Information technology can enable women throughout the globe to share strategies, successes and stress-free and safe life.
March 8, International Women’s Day- International Women's Day (8 March) is an occasion marked by women's groups around the world. It is a gift from working class women to the women of the world. It symbolizes struggles, strength, and sisterhood of women for just, humane and egalitarian social order.
Bread and Roses, 1908
“ As we go marching, marching, we bring the greater days, The rising of the women means the rising of the race. No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes, But a sharing of life’s glories: Bread and roses, bread and roses. Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes; Hearts starve as well as bodies; bread and roses, bread and roses.”
Feminists wedded to safeguard the entitlements of women have been trying to convince the international financial, economic and commercial institutions, namely, World Bank, International Monitory Fund, World Trade Organisation and Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development
to withdraw existing conditionalities and rules of economic globalisation, and
to stop covertly and overtly, promoting the interests of patriarchal class system, all over the globe, defending the interests of TNCs and MNCs and imposing unrestrained commodification, thereby resulting into concentration and centralization of economic, financial and political power in the hands of the few.
Employment Guarantee Scheme and Maternity Benefits
The Employment Guarantee Scheme needs to be expanded and improved for urban workers. The focus of such employment schemes can be on building infrastructure, slum development and housing.
The National Renewal Fund should be extended to cover the unorganized sector and a substantial part should go into the retraining of workers.
Maternity Benefit for ALL working Mothers irrespective of the number of employees. Crèches should be provided for children of all workers and not merely women workers irrespective of the number of employees. There could be a common fund for each industry.
Social Audit of Workers rights
Measures to curb suicides among indebted women of MFIs.
gender bias in property laws. Need for gender-just family laws in matters such as marriage, divorce, custody and guardianship of child, maintenance, women’s right to stay in the parental or matrimonial home
As per the UN
“ Women constitute ½ of world’s population,
do 2/3 of world’s work, in return get 1/10 of world’s income and 1/100 of world’s wealth.
The Budget is an important tool in the hands of state for affirmative action for improvement of gender relations through reduction of gender gap in the development process. It can help to reduce economic inequalities, between men and women as well as between the rich and the poor.
budgetary policies to consider gender, class, caste dynamics operating in the economy and civil society.
need to highlight participatory approaches to pro-poor budgeting, green budgeting, local and global implications of pro-poor and pro-women budgeting,
Women’s Component in all anti poverty schemes and programmes to assure at least 30% of funds/benefits from all
Tax benefits be extended to women who are only earners in household.
mandated approach of convergence of services at all levels of governance, through inter-sect oral committees of all Ministries/Departments at the Centre ,States with specific responsibility to Councils and Municipalities
Every ministry at the Centre and State levels to have a women’s division
Women and Child Development Department must be separated
Training and capacity building workshops for decision-makers in the government structures, village councils, parliamentarians and audio-visual media for planning, budgeting, implementing and monitoring.
a. Strengthening of Food Security and Right to Food Top down and bottom up initiatives to stop malnutrition and starvation deaths created by stabilisation programmes resulting into withdrawal of state from food security commitments. b. Public Health issues must be highlighted thro’ a national network, People’s Health Assembly. The Nation States should follow the UN mandate of 5 % of the GDP for budgetary allocation on the public health. c. No to dumping of unsafe contraceptives for coloured and poor women. d. Ban sex-selective abortions of female foetuses in South Asia and China.
f. State Support for Women’s Education not only at the primary school level but also at the secondary and high school level. Forum for Child Care has demanded that one room of the school should be converted into crèche so that girls who have to look after their younger siblings can also join the schools. More budgetary allocation and actual funding for girls’ education. g. Free Legal Aid and People’s Court : Justice and Peace Commission, a network of community organisations working in Mumbai provides free legal aid to poor women to deal with marital disputes, divorce, maintenance, custody of children, alimony, property, right to stay in the parental or matrimonial homes. This model must be replicated everywhere. h. Housing Rights are the most important. NCHR demanded that in al1 housing societies and state supported housing schemes, 10 % houses should be reserved for female-headed households.
i. Sanitation, Public toilets : There is an urgent need to take up the issues of urban sanitation in terms of higher budgetary provision from the state and municipal funding. j. Safety nets for women in the subsistence sector of the economy in terms of loans, infrastructure, storage and transport and state subsidy and support price for agriculture, animal husbandry, dairy development, horticulture and floriculture. k. Environmental Issues : Natural resources, being humankind’s common heritage, must be preserved for the use of actual and future generation with the perspective that each human being has an access to water, air, energy, etc. according to her or his needs. l. Commercialisation and privatisation of these resources must be stopped. Biological diversity (flora, fauna, forests, ecosystems) must be preserved and indigenous women’s collective wisdom must be recognised, respected and valued.