Dickinson, Alanna


Organization: Cividep India
Location: Bangalore, India
Year: 2015

MRP/Thesis abstract:

Organizational Approaches to Advancing the Conditions of Female Garment Workers in Bangalore, India

Women in developing countries have been the majority of those employed to work in export-oriented industries since the emergence of neoliberalism and the subsequent liberalization of trade policies beginning in the 1970s. Today, the garment sector continues to have one of the most feminized work forces in the world. In Bangalore, India, a city located in the Southern state of Karnataka, eighty-five per cent of garment workers are women, making it the most feminised garment industry in the nation compared to the male-dominated industries in the North. Female garment workers in Bangalore experience constant tensions in their lives. The sources of these tensions are the issues they face daily in the workplace and in the home. This paper seeks to investigate three organizational approaches used to improve the conditions of workers carried out in an increasingly complex and shifting regulatory framework for improving working conditions in the developing world. It will begin by conducting a deeper analysis of the tension and issues female garment workers face using a gendered lens. It will then examine the strategies, practices and goals of three different groups of organizations in the city of Bangalore, India: non-governmental organizations (NGOs), trade unions and multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) and evaluate the groups according to two criteria, 1) how their strategies align with the broader strategies of similar groups (this will be based on extant literature), and 2) how effective their strategies have been in helping female garment workers improve their livelihoods. In order to do this, it will be necessary to analyze how workers understand their strategies. By assessing them in this way, this research aims to find how these strategies fit into the broader context of labour regulation, both state and non-state regulation, and how organizations may begin to form better relationships with female garment workers in the future, which may help the workers, to some extent, improve their lives and reduce the tensions they face.