Bringing women back to work: a temporal perspective

Author: Oindrila Matilal (International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore)

Session: 1.2B: Gender and empowerment

Abstract: Achieving gender equality in access to decent work is one of the goals of sustainable development. Historically, greater agency over the distribution of working hours has encouraged women’s participation in paid employment. I study the work practices of a digital social enterprise in Bangalore that is both an employment provider and a third-party employment facilitator for women returnees, to understand how the notion of “working time” is incorporated in the design of initiatives by this enterprise to bring women back into the workforce as well as in its own work practices. I find that as an employment facilitator the enterprise puts the onus on women to invest time to up-skill themselves. As an employment provider that is planning to scale up, it is moving towards a less flexible model of work practices. Moreover, the continuous working trajectory is still considered the norm and women returnees are monetarily penalized for their career break.