Top urban news, trends and reports curated for the world’s city leaders. Edited by David Hatch

India’s urbanization cements hardship for female laborers

Women comprise 20 percent of India’s construction workers, but are paid much less than men. (EPA)

For India’s 8 million female construction workers, back-breaking, dangerous work means lower wages than men and on-the-job harassment. Nita Bhalla reports for Reuters that India’s swift urbanization has prompted many female villagers to leave children behind for economic opportunity.

Women comprise 20 percent of India’s 40 million construction workers, but are rarely treated as equals. In Delhi, they earn 250 rupees ($4) a day compared to 450 rupees ($7) for men. For mothers who bring youngsters along, there is rarely child care. The women routinely endure verbal and physical abuse, often perpetrated by the contractors or agents who recruited them, the article says.

Many women are not informed of their rights or are too frightened to complain, Bhalla writes. But in a hopeful sign, female workers formed a cooperative in Ahmedabad that offers training and pays partial wages when women take sick days, Reuters notes. 


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