Date: Tuesday, June 18th, 2019, 17:00-18:10
Venue: Lecture Room, 4th Floor, The building No.14, Komaba Campus of the University of Tokyo
17:00-17:50 Sonia Krishna Kurup ‘Female Labour Migration in India: Smart Femininity, Familial Labour & Social Network’
Feminist scholars have often contested the dichotomy associated with gendered analysis of internal migration in India that identifies male mobility primarily within the purview of labour and female migration as marriage driven. Many historical studies have explored women’s early work-based migration in professions such as nursing and teaching. This paper studies the experiences of educated, middle class women from Nair and Christian communities who had migrated from the southernmost state of Kerala, between the late 1960s to early 1980s, to work in clerical positions in the various defence establishments in Pune, a prominent urban area close to Mumbai. A combination of factors facilitated their migration and employment. These include the presence of an influential, caste-based migration network of Malayalis in Pune; the female migrant’s desire to supplement familial income and enable social mobility; their status as single and educated women at the time of migration; and t!
he requirements of unpaid familial labor from female kin. The paper proposes a new conceptual framework that incorporates the concepts of ‘saving’ and ‘smart femininity’ to examine the interstate migration of women for labor in early postcolonial India. Being a single (or to be married) and educated woman from certain regional, caste or communal background involved in internal migration is central to this concept of smart
femininity. The article, through oral narratives of women along with archival data, situates their lives and memories within the socio-political economies of Kerala and Pune. The work contributes to the historical understanding of internal migration, women’s labour force participation, and formation of gendered identities in developing countries such as India.
Sonia Krishna Kurup is a research scholar at K S P Women’s Studies Centre, S P Pune University. She obtained her MA from Centre for Historical Studies, JNU, New Delhi. She is currently studying identity formation among women involved in internal labor migration in India from a feminist perceptive.