United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)

UNIFEM South Asia Office

Economic Security

October, 26-28, 2009  Study on Garment Embellishment Industry in India: Home based Workers in Value Chains by the Gujarat Institute of Development Research, Ahmedabad, supported by UNIFEM South Asia

Description: The Study makes a value chain analysis of home-based workers (HBWs), focusing on two segments of the garment industry, the top and rich segment and the bottom or relatively poorer segment. It captures the specific data related to the situation of home-based workers (HBWs), providing insights into the current situation of workers at the bottom of the chain, as well as making suggestions on how to improve the share of value addition in the home-based sector. It makes available an important policy advocacy tool for HBW in the garment sector.


The Paper on Governance Structure and Labour Market Outcomes in Garment Embellishment Chains by Professor Jeemol Unni of the Institute of Rural Management, Anand and Professor Suma Scaria of the Central University, Kasargod in the UNIFEM supported ‘Study on Garment Embellishment Industry in India: Home based Workers in Value Chains’ by the Gujarat Institute of Development Research has been published in the Indian Journal of Labour Economics, Vol. 52, No. 4, 2009.

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National Convention on Making Growth Inclusive: Opportunities, Scope and Challenges at the State Level

Gujarat Institute of Development Research, Ahmedabad

Final Narrative Report



Adivasi Women and Climate Change Study -

Adivasi Women – Engaging with Climate Change by Dr. Govind Kelkar

The Study is supported by the UNIFEM South Asia Sub-regional Office, New Delhi through its partnerships with IFAD and the Christensen Fund. 

The Study aims to decipher the gendered impact of climate change in adivasi/indigenous societies in Asia. It also aims to increase understanding of how these are exacerbated by structural shifts in adivasi socio-economic systems resulting from their colonial history, more recent efforts at privatization and gendered roles within the adivasi communities. It offers policy recommendations to enhance women’s resiliency to this impact.



Report of the Independent Group on Home-based Workers -
   Dr. N.S. Sastry, chaired the group, which included, Mr. S.K. Nath, Prof. Jeemol Unni, Ms. Renana Jhabvala, Mr. S.K. Das, Mr. J. Dash, Mr. G.C.Manna, Ms. Meenakshi Ahluwalia, Ms. Sapna Joshi and Ms. Firoza Mehrotra, as members.

Description: There is, as yet, no national or international standard for definition of ‘home-based worker’. The Group has examined national and international experience on statistics of ‘homeworkers/outworkers’ and ‘place of work’ and developments in the ‘classification of status in employment’ and evolved a definition of ‘home-based worker’, keeping in view the realities of Indian conditions of work at home in rural and urban areas. The Independent Group held intensive and in-depth discussions in seven meetings and considered a report on the results of a field-test of the proposed definition, before formulating its recommendation on the definition of home-based workers.

The data requirements for formulating and implementing a ‘National policy on home-based workers in India’ are identified and the data gaps delineated. Recommendations are made for creating and improving the database on home-based workers in the national official statistical system.


Study on Globalization and its Impact on Women Workers in the Informal Economy in association with SEWA – Ms. Renana Jhabvala and Ms. Shalini Sinha, contributors and editors.  Other contributing essayists include, Mr. Ashok Raj, Mr. Arbind Singh, Dr. Manjul Bajaj, Dr. Rupinder Kaur, Dr. Navsharan Singh, Ms. Ratna Sudarshan, Mr. Rakesh Kapoor, and Ms. Piush Antony.

Description: This collection of essays brought out by SEWA in collaboration with UNIFEM is an effort to bridge the gap of a lack of data, which contributes to the vulnerability and invisibility of women workers in the informal economy. By studying the changes in women’s lives vis-à-vis liberalization and globalization, the essays highlight the realities of informal women workers and promote efforts to improve their lives. Based on secondary sources, the essays have attempted to locate women workers in the current economic liberalization scenario. They analyze the trends in seven sectors, which have been chosen, as much for reasons of concentration of women workers, as also for the fact that there is preliminary evidence of links with globalization.


“A Preliminary Study on the Productive Linkages of Indian Industry with Home-based Women Workers through Subcontracting Systems in Manufacturing Sector” by Dr. Ashok Raj and his expert team at the Centre for Science Technology & Environment Policy Studies (STEPS), New Delhi   

Description: The Study provides a rich resource on home-based work, particularly its gender dimensions, being rigorous in both methodology and analysis of data. The data generated is primary, and studies the impact of globalization on home-based workers, focusing on subcontracting systems in the changing scenario and its impact on women home-based workers.


A Review of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Initiatives that focus on Disadvantaged Women in South Asia by Ms. Anita Gurumurthy. This paper was presented at a meeting jointly hosted by CII and UNIFEM, highlighting the potential of women as a critical agency in the ICT sector.

Description: UNIFEM SARO undertook this review in an effort to harness the benefits of globalization for women, wherein ICTs create opportunity rather then exacerbate disparities, empowering women as both users and providers. Using a gender lens and focusing on women’s economic empowerment, the Review highlights the best practices in South Asia, with especial emphasis on India. It analyzes the more visible ICT initiatives, extracting insights and learnings, providing thought provoking information on gender and ICTs in the context of poverty and development.


Population Census Results in Gender Perspective (Population Census 2001, Volume III) by the Central Bureau of Statistics, National Planning Commission Secretariat, His Majesty’s Government of Nepal


Description:  This is a publication of gender specific results of the 2001 Population Census of Nepal, focusing mainly on the tabulation of gender sensitive questions included in census schedules and the simple or cross tabulation of general questions, addressing gender issues directly or indirectly. By and large the report encompasses demographic and socio-economic characteristics by gender at the national level and other geographical areas of the country.


Foreign Employment for Women: Challenges and Opportunities by Sancharika Samuha, Nepal

Description: This is a collection of articles published during the UNIFEM supported media campaign, undertaken by Sancharika Samuha to promote safe migration and empower migrant women workers of Nepal. It captures the efforts of the weeklong media campaign to sensitize, educate, awaken and influence mind-sets by comprehensively covering migrant women’s rights and the various aspects of foreign employment and migration for work. It focuses on the campaign’s effort to highlight possible mechanisms that could be put in place for them to empower them. The publication captures the Media Campaign, also making available a valuable resource on migrant women workers in Nepal. To increase its outreach, it has been published in both Nepali and English. Giving a face to the journey, and bringing home the realities of the lives of migrant women workers, the publication showcases eight case studies.


Mapping of Home-based Workers in the Informal Sector in Bangladesh by the Bangladesh Home-Workers Women Association (BHWA), supported by UNIFEM (2003)

Description: In an effort to gain recognition for home-based women workers in Bangladesh, and to initiate public awareness and debate on their status, this research, which is the first such research ever, was carried out, covering all 64 districts of the country. The mapping was conducted as an action research programme, which sought to identify women homeworker’s location, both their physical or geographic distribution and their position within the production chain. Using the database, efforts have been made to list exhaustively, the type of economic activities or home-based trades they are involved in. Currently available legislative protection and what is required to tackle the constraints faced by them has been focused upon, as well as information on existing policies, making policy recommendations for the future.


We were in fire – Now we are in water: Micro-credit and Gender Relations in Rural Bangladesh by Govind Kelkar, Dev Nathan and Rownok Jahan for the IFAD-UNIFEM Gender Mainstreaming Programme in Asia (2004) ISBN: 1-932827-01-3

Description: The book is based on a study undertaken as part of a field mission to review IFAD projects in Asia to assess gender components of the Bangladesh project. The authors undertook intensive field work, covering 20 Savings and Credit Groups (SCG) formed under the Agricultural Development and Intensification Project of the Government of Bangladesh and International Fund for Agricultural Development. This Study, which is replete with case studies and the evocative voices of rural women, makes a strong case for micro credit as an effective tool for women’s empowerment, leading to significant changes in gender relations which are unlikely to be reversed. The authors argue that women are undoubtedly more empowered than before and are redefining their sense of ‘dignity’ as opposed to the traditional concept of ‘purdah’. Amongst the women surveyed, it was clear that a broader change, facilitated by micro-credit, was taking place in rural Bangladesh, contributing to their overall sense of well-being, improved nutrition and enhanced decision-making powers


Trade, Globalization and Gender-Evidence from South Asia by UNIFEM in collaboration with UNCTAD, edited by Dr. Veena Jha.

Description: The publication explores the linkages between liberalized International Trade, Globalization and Women in the South Asia region. It is probably the first major publication to acknowledge and examine the significant implication of trade agreements and global economic integration on women’s livelihood in South Asia, both the formal and informal sectors. With an Overview provided by Ms. Renana Jhabvala of SEWA, it includes the following Country Case Studies: (1) Impact of Globalization on Women Workers in Garment Exports – The Indian Experience, by Indrani Mazumdar; (2) Gender and Trade: Impact of Globalization on Women Workers in the Textile and Food Processing Industries in India, by the Centre for Social Research; (3) Options for Women in the Textile and Handloom Sector in Bangladesh by UBINIG, Bangladesh; (4) A Study on Gender Implications of Nepal’s Accession to the WTO by Mona Shrestha Adhikari and Hiramani Ghimire; (5) Impact of the WTO on Women Workers in Sri Lanka by Jeevika Weerahewa and Anoma Ariyawardana. The papers in this compilation are largely country papers, though several of them have also used inter-country comparison methodologies.