The Status of Marginalized Women Tea Garden Workers in the Mountain Ecosystem of Darjeeling in a Globalised Village

  • Moushumi DattaEmail author
Part of the Perspectives on Geographical Marginality book series (PGEO)


Tea industry is one of the oldest industries in India and enjoys the status of one of the best organised industries in the country. The Indian organised tea sector currently employs over 1.1 million workers throughout the tea growing states. Women constitute more than 50% of the total labour force. This is the only industry in the organised sector that employs such a high proportion of female labour. The industry boasts as an organised sector with various legislations in place specially the Plantation Labour Act of 1951. The present qualitative study of the tea gardens provides substantial content to understand the status of women in the tea industry in Darjeeling. The data used for this study is obtained from the primary survey conducted in the tea gardens of Darjeeling in May, 2009 and in May, 2010. The survey covers a representative sample of 180 women workers. The data was collected with the help of an in-depth interview schedule. Observations on households and housing pattern make it apparent that the overall living conditions of the women is responsible for the occurrence of diseases. Educational status of the respondents has been found frustrating in the tea gardens in Darjeeling. The low level of awareness regarding the value of education among the respondents may be a reason for not getting educated. Recreational facilities are very limited in tea garden areas. It has been noticed during survey that male-headed families are predominant in tea garden areas. Inspite of their contribution to the family’s needs, the participation of women in the decision making process of the family is virtually non-existent. This study aims to highlight the marginalized position of the women worker in the tea industry and the exploitation faced by them. Empirical evidence shows that the management violates most of the provisions of fair and compensatory employment. With one of the oldest industries still surviving and prospering it is imperative that the women work force concerns need to be addressed immediately. The development of this marginalized tea garden women will ensure a future to the industry which till date has exploited their main pillar of sustenance and survival.


Marginalized women tea garden workers Malnutrition health hazards Sustenance and survival Awareness and perception Compensatory employment 



This research paper is dedicated to the people involved with the tea industry, specially to the women folk of the tea gardens who toil day and night through the good and the bad times with only one hope and dream- that of a bright and brilliant future for themselves and their industry.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nagindas Khandwala CollegeMumbaiIndia

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