Project Bulletin #03

Project Bulletin gives our readers a quick recap of our projects along with their latest updates. As our projects and partnerships grow, we hope these updates give our readers a sense of continuity about our projects and ensure ongoing access to the material that continues to be generated. 

No Space For Work: Political economy and challenges to women’s labour participation, safety, and autonomy is the next project that the Bulletin will recap below. 


Project background:

No Space For Work: Political economy and challenges to women’s labour participation, safety, and autonomy (or NSFW) is a national project spearheaded by Zubaan and funded by the Ford Foundation. It aims to understand how women navigate the world of paid economic work against unpaid and devalued work and how their social identities—based on caste, class, region, ethnicity, sexuality, etc.— influence these relationships. The project continues and aligns with Zubaan’s commitment to visibilising diverse perspectives by local researchers and grassroots women’s collectives. 

The informal work sectors under focus in the project are construction, sanitation, domestic work, sex work, agricultural and allied sectors, and grassroots volunteer-based work (ASHA, Anganwadi, etc.). Smaller pilot studies are expected in hospitality, private education, media, tourism, etc.

Participatory research is the core of the project. The project aims to produce documentation and audio-visual reports through partnerships with individuals such as women leaders, community researchers, and grassroots activists affiliated with various organizations across Assam, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Manipur, and others. Their work traverses issues of disability, women’s leadership, violence against women, oral history, gender justice, and more.

The output produced under NSFW will be disseminated within the communities for their use. The project, to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, focused on exploring how the experiences of work for women and the forms of violence they face at work changed during the pandemic. Zubaan also provided relief to marginalized women and communities through its networks with community resource persons.

Some of the materials created:

The outputs developed through participatory research are at the heart of NSFW. The multimedia outputs are and will be based on the needs and requirements of working women in specific project locations.

 Narratives of struggle, solidarity, and resistance have emerged through the project, which will continue building on the research capacities of working women so that they can document these stories in their languages and on their own terms.

While the narratives collected are textual, efforts are underway to adapt them to different formats (like audio stories and graphic illustrations) and disseminate them amongst the communities they emerged from through mediums like community radio, WhatsApp, and Facebook groups. 

The project also supports the publication of research papers examining the intersection of various forms of violence and the world of paid and unpaid work. In addition, two feminist economics and labour activism experts have been commissioned to write background papers exploring this. 

Future plans

The creators of the materials and Zubaan share the copyright for all materials under this project (as per the Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Creative Commons License). Through this license and sharing model, the project envisions deploying the materials for distribution and advocacy within the communities engaged and other stakeholders in the field.