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Wilson, Kalpana, Ismail, Feyzi, Kharel, Sambriddhi and Dahal, Swechchha (2024) 'Women construction workers in Nepal: Collectivities under precarious conditions.' Gender, Work and Organization, 31 (2). pp. 419-434.

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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 labor 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 related to women's participation in labor 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. Second, 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 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 organized collectivities, negotiate, and often resist, gendered norms of behavior and at times radically re‐envision the scope of trade union struggles.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Nepal, trade unions, labor, construction, gender
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Development Studies
ISSN: 09686673
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2023 19:12
Funders: Other, Other

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