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Women in the Informal Economy: Psychological Well-being and the Empowerment Trap

Gurtoo, A (2017) Women in the Informal Economy: Psychological Well-being and the Empowerment Trap. In: Sociological Bulletin, 66 (3). pp. 316-331.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1177/0038022917727078


The increased participation of women in the post-globalisation expansion of the informal economy has brought forth the debate on the women being empowered or impoverished in the bargain. Economists view the informal economy as an income opportunity. In contrast, feminists and political economists see the economy as a poverty trap, leading to impoverishment. This article empirically explores the ongoing debate using a survey of 1,276 female domestic workers, from Karnataka, surveyed during 2014�2015. Predictor models are built based on two categories of experiences, namely, workplace conditions and employer�employee relationship, and two categories of processes, namely, social empowerment and economic empowerment. The findings reveal employee�employer relationship factors superseding the workplace factors. Further, in the socially unequal relationship between the domestic worker and the employer, the empowerment processes are liberating as well as incapacitating. While they strengthen the economic and occupational support dynamics, the effects on psychological well-being are negative. Deconstructing the result from the Asian developing country perspective, feudal orientations are seen. The results are discussed taking help from the social support theory. © 2017 Indian Sociological Society SAGE Publications.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Sociological Bulletin
Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to Sage publisher.
Department/Centre: Division of Interdisciplinary Sciences > Management Studies
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2022 07:34
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2022 07:34
URI: https://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/76490

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