Social insurance provision for women in the urban informal sector : interpreting the successful strategy of Working Women's Forum, India
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
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Since the late-1980s, the world's workers have experienced two strikingly coordinated global trends. The first is an unpredicted decline in secure, formally employed labor, and subsequent growth in informal labor. The second is an unprecedented decline in state welfare rhetoric and policy. These simultaneous trends have resulted in an increase in the proportion of workers that do not receive secure wages or social benefits from either the employer or the state. As this notion of the "benevolent" state purported in the 1950's disintegrates, one finds development literature focusing squarely on formation of social movements as solutions. This study examines the efforts of one such social movement-Working Women's Forum, India (WWF)-which has been successful in providing social protection (insurance) for over 8,00,000 women in the urban informal sector in Tamilnadu, Andhra and Karnataka. This case study looks at linkages between WWF and insurers: Government and Private owned. The curiosity that guides the research is regarding a) opportunities involved in such linkages towards a wider coverage of women in the informal sector, and b) identifying different state characteristics that influence different levels of success among informal workers organizations' ability to secure labor benefits.(cont.) The latter is marked by continuous negotiations, sometimes confrontational, and other times enabling. This necessitates knowledge of the larger political, legislative and policy environment under which such struggles become successful movements. The reason to study this organization was multifold. First, the organization has been operational in more than one State (of India), aiding comparative analysis of outcomes with respect to different governmental set ups. Second, owing to its large coverage, it was useful to understand the kind of strength it wields in influencing policy decisions (Social Security Bill for Unorganized Sector Workers, 2006). All these issues are analyzed in the backdrop of reformatory struggles through the 1970's, definitions of social protection, current legislations, organizational modifications over the years, and the micro-insurance programmes. The intention of the thesis is mainly to identify factors that have contributed to bringing about an enabling environment for social protection for women in the urban informal sector.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2006.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 72-75).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.