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    Women construction workers in Nepal: collectivities under precarious conditions

    Wilson, Kalpana and Ismail, Feyzi and Kharel, S. and Dahal, S. (2023) Women construction workers in Nepal: collectivities under precarious conditions. Gender, Work and Organization , ISSN 0968-6673.

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    Abstract

    In this article we explore the experiences of women construction workers in Nepal, and the strategies that these workers have adopted to challenge the exploitation and inequalities they confront. We firstly argue that the experiences of women construction workers in Nepal are shaped by compulsive engagement in labour markets under conditions of informality, precarity and gendered responsibility for social reproduction. These experiences reflect multiple intersections of gender, class, caste and ethnicity in the arenas of the household, the workplace, trade unions and the state. However, policy interventions relating to women’s participation in labour markets and inspired by the Gender Equality as Smart Economics approach, such as Nepal’s post-earthquake mason training scheme targeting women construction workers, render invisible these structures of inequality, exploitation and violence. Secondly, we argue that women construction workers negotiate – and in some cases challenge and change – working conditions, primarily through a variety of informal and formal collective strategies. Women construction workers’ own narratives and practices, we find, bear little resemblance to the narratives promoted by the international financial institutions (IFIs) and the state, in which women workers appear as resilient, altruistic and industrious entrepreneurial subjects seeking individual self-improvement within the neoliberal framework. They rather invoke informal and organised collectivities, negotiate and often resist gendered norms of behaviour and at times radically re-envision the scope of trade union struggles.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Kalpana Wilson
    Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2023 12:45
    Last Modified: 25 Oct 2023 15:35
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/52116

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