Marginalization of women workers in Indian social welfare policies

Sreerekha Sathi

Assistant Professor Sreerekha Sathi has contributed this chapter to a new book on the multiple worlds of women’s labour in the context of the current crisis besetting women’s work in contemporary India.

In her chapter, 'The Honorary Workers in India’s Anganwadis', Sreerekha Sathi explores the status of women within India’s social welfare policies through a study of India’s Anganwadis, government run childcare centres of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme.

She argues that the withdrawal of state support under globalization, coinciding with the demand for expansion of state welfare schemes, is progressively weakening the social-service sector in the country.

The chapter examines the complexities of the politics of work, women workers and social welfare policies by bringing to attention the issue of increasing marginalization of women workers in social welfare policies by the Indian state which is primarily culpable for exploiting women’s labour where multiple forms of work they do is defined as voluntary social service.


Assistant professor
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Women in the Worlds of Labour: Interdisciplinary and Intersectional Perspectives edited by Mary E. John and Meena Gopal highlights issues that often get lost in many mainstream analyses of labour, including those of Dalit women, women in subsistence agriculture, migrant women, queer women, and women with disabilities. 

Chapters focus on courtesans, domestic workers in West Asia, women in the beedi industry, SEZ factory girls, stigmatised transpersons, construction workers who may also engage in sex work, teachers, Madhubani artists, anganwadi workers, women in trade unions and self-help groups—to provide critical, insightful accounts of how India is failing its labouring women.