Review Of Jayati Ghosh's Never Done And Poorly Paid Summary

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Review of Jayati Ghosh’s book “Never Done and Poorly Paid”
Divya Mehrotra
MA Women’s Studies
Tata Institute of Social Sciences

Issues of labour and employment have been core areas of concern for most economists around the world. The following paper consists of a review of the book titled Never Done and Poorly Paid: Women’s Work in Globalising India written by Jayati Ghosh which was published in 2009 by Women Unlimited, an associate of Kali for women, New Delhi. This book was part of a series called “feminist fine print” which includes three or more core essays on a single issue from a critical feminist perspective.
Professor Jayati Ghosh is one of the world’s leading economists. She is currently the
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According to the NSSO data of 2006, highest employment rate for urban women workers was in retail trade, textile industries and employment in private households. Ghosh has critically analysed the work done by women in EPZ (Export Processing Zones) and writes how women workers are further exploited in EPZs where flouting of labour laws is a common features by employers (no minimum wage, long working hours, gender wage gap) resulting in many work-related illnesses and disorders among women workers. The author does not just talk about the effect of EPZs working on women but on male workers as well, thereby giving a larger gender perspective to the problem. On the issue of child labour, the author points out that although there are many laws in place in India, like “The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986”, the “Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976”, but they are hardly effective. The anti-child labour laws are rarely monitored, let alone enforcement. For me, the most interesting statement given by the author on the argument of child labour being a mere “extension of the family unit” (p.78) was that this is not only questionable empirically, but also fundamentally cateist in nature as it assumes that such children only deserve …show more content…
156). According to the 2004-05 NSSO data, 52% or rural women and 63% of urban women were predominantly engaged in unpaid domestic work. The author stated the reasons for increase in unpaid labour: first, the neo-liberal economic policies which have led to the retracting of the welfare state, thereby leading to a reduction in access to public goods and services. Second, cutbacks in public health expenditure, thereby increasing the burden of care work on the women of the household. Third, worsened infrastructure in both urban and rural areas, namely sanitation and drinking water, and improper access to fuel wood. Moreover, Ghosh opines that sometimes the increase in women’s unpaid labour results from policies designed to fulfil other social objectives. She also looks at the issue of “open unemployment” (p.164) (those who say that they are available and actively looking for work but are unable to find it). Because in India the poor have limited or no choice but to engage in some kind of economic activity, that is why the Indian labour market is characterised by high rates of underemployment or disguised unemployment, rather than unemployment. She further writes that according to the data collected,

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