Gender, flexibility, skill and industrial restructuring: the electronics industry in India

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Abstract

Based on research on women workers in the consumer electronics industry in
Delhi, India, this paper discusses recent changes in the situation of women workers, as
the industry undergoes a major process of restructuring in response to the liberalization
and globalization of the Indian economy in the 1990's. The first section presents the
concept of gendered labour regimes as a framework to examine recent trends towards
flexibility. In Section II changing policy regimes in the electronics industry are
sketched upto the present period. Section III delineates broad patterns of continuity and
change in relation to labour market flexibility highlighting the differentiation within the
industry as well as differentiation within women workers. Examining the ‘flexibility’ of
women workers through a gender lens, it is argued that industrial restructuring has intensified a pre-existing pattern of labour market flexibility. The dismantling of the organized sector through implicit de-regulation is extending these conditions of casualisation and insecurity to workers who had become ‘inflexible’. Section IV re-examines
the issue of gender and skill in relation to labour market demand for functional flexibility. It highlights the issue of the non-recognition of existing skills as significant in
the context of trends in the industry where a dual process of a demand for more 'technically skilled' women has emerged alongside a downgrading of existing skill categories.
In the last section, a proposal is presented for an alternative approach to skill assessments and job designations.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDen Haag
PublisherInternational Institute of Social Studies (ISS)
Number of pages51
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1999

Publication series

SeriesISS working papers. General series
Number296
ISSN0921-0210

Series

  • ISS Working Paper-General Series

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