A feminist organising agenda – Reflections on the collective resistance of women platform workers in India

Please cite the paper as:
Chiara Furtado, (2022), A feminist organising agenda – Reflections on the collective resistance of women platform workers in India, World Economics Association (WEA) Conferences, No. 1 2022, Feminist Economics, Contributions and Challenges

Recent comments


2 comment

  • Irene Berthonnet says:

    Thank you for this very interesting paper, I had never read anything about women platform workers organizing before…
    It is interesting (though not surprising) that the platform economy is reproducing the same traditional sexual division of labor among sectors. I would be very interested in a more detailed explanation of how the mechanisms that you describe as obstructing worker-led flexibilisation of work time are different from the same mechanisms in male platform sectors, if that is something that you already have some info on. I have read many studies about flexibilisation of work in France (not necessarily in the platform economy) but I have never found a detailed review of the gendered nature of these mechanisms.
    Also, what do you think about Social Reproduction Theory and especially Bhattacharya’s work? It seemed to me that is compatible with Social Provisioning and adds elements for the articulation between unpaid care work and platform work that you point out and study.

  • Chiara Furtado says:

    Hi Irene, thanks for your comment. As you mentioned, the platform economy is reproducing much of the same gendered experiences of work.
    Accounts from workers have pointed out that ‘flexibility’ in the platform economy is essentially illusory. On-demand platforms operate, by design, through a high degree of information asymmetry regarding the scope of work required, depriving workers of making informed choices on the tasks and timings of their work. In addition, as I have highlighted in the paper, workers are faced with monetary and non-monetary penalties for decisions through which they attempt to exercise worker-led flexibility. While the false choice of flexibility does not seem confined to feminised sectors such as beauty, platforms claim to have afford flexibility to women workers in particular. Workers at the protests brought up these false promises as some of the major grievances against the platform. As the paper highlighted, with plans such as the minimum guarantee (MG) plan, the platform severely restricts the workers’ agency and autonomy.
    Secondly, on your point on social reproduction theory, certainly I agree it is compatible with the social provisioning approach as it centres analysis around care. Further along in the paper, I have used a framework for analysis grounded in social reproduction theory as it manifests in everyday platform work along the vectors of space, time, and violence as developed by Elias and Rai (2019).