Marginalisation of women plantation workers in wage and labour
Keywords:Tea industry, Wage, India, Women labour
The Indian Tea Industry, topographically concentrated in the States of Assam, West Bengal and Kerela is the country’s oldest beverage industry that adds India to the list of top 5 exporters in the world, accounting for 10% of the total exports. Among the 1.5 million workers employed under the Plantation system, women constitute more than 50% of the labour workforce, outnumbering the men workers both in numbers as well as labour contribution. Despite being the key agents of labour in the tea production chain, the constant refutation of them being the primary breadwinner in a system unequally and unfairly dominated by men has led to a sense of incapacity in the women, further making their voices meek to stand against the discriminatory practices meted out to them. Ironically, India being the signatory to UNDP’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), ranks 123rd out of 189th countries in the United Nation’s Gender Inequality Index.