AOM 2014 Symposium: Working wo(men) of South Asia: Why we matter

Organisers: Edwina Pio, Jawad Syed


Complexity is a key aspect of South Asia with a population of 1.649 billion. Caste, class, patriarchy, religion, agriculture, technology, terrorism and violence impact working wo(men) on an everyday basis. In constructing South Asian wo(men), we are aware of the multiplicity of socio-cultural, religious, political and institutional intersections in this heterogeneous region. In this messy and rich plethora of issues and axes of power with domains of exclusion and opportunity for wo(men), there continues to persist a very high gender gap in employment. Girls are still being denied the right to education and for those

who receive formal education, progression into tertiary education and relevant employment is challenging. More women are employed in agriculture and the unorganized sector and they hold less secure jobs with fewer benefits. Access to paid employment remains a distant target for many women as also control over resources such as income and asset ownership. Yet wo(men) have agency and they matter! The five presentations in this symposium encompass three broad intersecting themes and questions. (1) The pervasive existence of structural and institutional barriers such as patriarchal ideologies reinforced by gender in- egalitarian interpretations of holy texts. Thus how do rhythms of local culture, education and globalization, as well as corruption, affect working wo(men) in the organized and unorganized sectors? (2) Women’s limited access to education and skill development in the context of human rights and equal opportunities. Thus how can interlocking systems of change facilitate a changed status for women? (3) The constant threat of bodily violence in all spheres of life. Thus to what extent do critical voices and wo(men) as critical actors impinge upon and reduce sexual harassment at work? Our symposium will critically frame these three themes and encourage a dialogic and inspiring conversation with participants.

  • 20140805_145411Blooming in the muddy pond: Marginalized Indian women’s resilience in dealing with corruption

  • Presenter: Smita Singh; Auckland U. of Technology

  • Presenter: Edwina Pio; Auckland U. of Technology

  • Collective agency in self-employed women’s groups in India: Defying gender segregation

  • Presenter: Peter Anthony Murray; U. of Southern Queensland

  • Presenter: Deepanie Perera; Target Resource (Pvt) Ltd

  • Sexual harassment in the Indian workplace

  • Presenter: Rana Haq; Laurentian U.

  • Women’s careers in the high-tech sector: A Bangladesh perspective

  • Presenter: Samina Saifuddin; Carleton U.

  • Presenter: Lorraine Dyke; Carleton U.

  • Presenter: Md Sajjad Hossain; East West U.

  • The Arab-Salafi role model and Pakistani women at work

  • Presenter: Faiza Ali; U. of Kent, Canterbury

  • Presenter: Jawad Syed; U. of Huddersfield

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