Valuing women’s work: Towards a convergence of own-account, waged, and unpaid care and domestic work?


The work performed by women is varied. Most women work on own-account in unincorporated household/family enterprises in India, while those engaged in paid, waged work are fewer. In addition, women also perform long hours of unpaid work in care and domestic work within the home. Recognising and valuing such forms of work performed by women remains a challenge. Family law in India often ignores the unpaid contribution of the wife/mother to the household when dealing with division of property at the time of divorce or upon the death of a spouse. Labour law, too, has grappled with assigning a value to the care and domestic work performed by women within the household. I examine if there can be a harmonization and convergence of the principles governing the valuation of women’s work across different domains of the law in India.

The speaker

Professor (Dr.) Kamala Sankaran is currently a Professor at the Campus Law Centre, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi, and has been teaching Constitutional Law, Jurisprudence and Labour Law.

Her research interests include constitutional law, international labour standards, and the regulation of work. Her recent books include Affirmative Action: A View from the Global South (Dupper and Sankaran eds.) (SunMedia, Stellenbosch, 2014) and Challenging the Legal Boundaries of Work Regulation (Fudge, McCrystal and Sankaran eds.) (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2012).

Professor Kamala Sankaran has previously served as the Vice Chancellor, Tamil Nadu National Law University at Tiruchirappalli. She has been a Fellow, Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Study, South Africa, Visiting South Asian Research Fellow, School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, Oxford University, and a Visiting Scholar and recipient of the Fulbright Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at the Georgetown University Law Center, Washington D.C.

She is a member, International Advisory Board, International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations; member, Editorial Board, University of Oxford Human Rights Hub Journal, member Editorial Advisory Board, Indian Journal of Labour Economics, and has served as Editor of the Delhi Law Review.

The series

This social reproduction seminar series is part of the Laws of Social Reproduction project led by Prof. Prabha Kotiswaran, and based at King’s College London and IWWAGE Delhi. For more information about the project or to join the network, please email The Laws of Social Reproduction project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (under grant agreement No. 772946).

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