ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Middle-class Women’s Labour Migration in Post-liberalised Cities in India

Despite the growing visibility of middle-class women in diverse service sector jobs in Indian cities post 1991, scant research has been directed to study the linkage between their migration dynamics and post-liberalisation changes in the country. This article investigates the patterns and trends of urban migration of middle-class women through the period of pre- and post-liberalisation (1983 to 2007–08); and the socio-economic correlates of their contemporary migration using the data from the National Sample Surveys. Contrary to the dominant stereotypes around women’s “unproductive” migration, the middle-class women’s employment- and education-linked migration turns out to surpass their marriage and family associated movements. The multivariable regression analysis shows that labour migration of educated middle-class women becomes more probable for single, Scheduled Tribe women, aged 21–59 years, having a certificate/diploma, and work experience as a regular/salaried employee at the origin, and coming from rural areas of another state.

Politics Overpowering Welfare

An analysis of the Unorganised Workers' Social Security Act 2008 shows its distance from the original National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector proposal. Passed as a measure of political expediency ahead of the 2009 general elections, the legislation creates few timelines or compulsions for central and state governments to provide for unorganised workers. Current schemes included in the Act's ambit focus only on below poverty line workers, threatening to leave out a large swathe of this vulnerable workforce.
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