Worker Identity, Agency and Economic Development: Women’s Empowerment in the Indian Informal Economy

Elizabeth Hill
  • Place of Publication: London
  • Publisher: Routledge

This book documents the situation of informal women workers in India with a focus on the social foundations of economic development. The book builds upon the experiences of the members of SEWA, an Indian trade union of self employed women earning a living in the informal economy. The empowerment of SEWA members is discussed through examining the links between worker identity, agency, and worker engagement in the political economy in detail. It is argued that SEWAs struggle to build a strong identity of its members as workers has been an important start for their empowerment, giving them a sense of pride and building strong solidarity. SEWA has been organising self-employed women in the informal economy by using a two-fold strategy of advocacy for pro-poor policies and service provision including insurance, help in establishing cooperatives, education, health, and financial services. This book focuses more on the advocacy aspects of SEWAs strategy, linking the experiences of SEWA to a broader debate about empowerment and economic development.

Informal Economy Theme
Occupational group
Publication Type