The Indian Journal of Labour Economics

, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 537–553 | Cite as

Gender, Women and Work in the Tea Plantation: A Case Study of Darjeeling Hills

  • Mamta GurungEmail author
  • Sanchari Roy Mukherjee


Women workers and their role in the tea plantations have received relatively scant attention in plantation literature and women’s studies although they dominate the tea industry. Women workers are an asset and backbone of the tea industry, and despite their contributions women workers have always been relegated to the bottom strata and considered the most abundant and cheapest labour force rather than as a source of specialised labour. Workers still earn meagre incomes, suffer from low levels of health care and personal well-being, lives entrapped in poverty and are cut off from the mainstream. The entire spectrum of elements, which acts as a barrier to the equitable participation of women in development, ranges from education, training, health, cultural and social considerations. This paper deals with the participation of women in the workforce and the impact on their socio-economic life. It also examines the ways in which women workers are marginalised on multiple fronts: casualisation of the workforce, upward occupational mobility and political space of trade unions.


Cheap labour Feminisation Gender characteristics Meagre wages Social amenities 



Mamta Gurung acknowledges Maulana Azad National Fellowship Granted by UGC, New Delhi, Award Lett. No.F1-17.1/2013-14/MANF-2013-14-BUD-WES-21331/(SA-III/Website).


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Copyright information

© Indian Society of Labour Economics 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsNorth Bengal UniversitySiliguriIndia

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