Urban Informality, Gender and Exclusion in India

  • Akriti BhatiaEmail author
  • Divya Upadhyaya Joshi
Part of the Sustainable Development Goals Series book series (SDGS)


In this chapter, we attempt to show how gender accentuates the conditions of urban informality and precarity, how gender and masculinity play out—with respect to urban spaces, migration, work, mobility, the idea of home and identity, and their interplay with labour, lives and the everyday state—explored on the axes of spatiality and (ii) legality; the private and the public sphere; and the formal and the informal. How women’s work/contribution gets invisiblized, but their presence/bodies get hyper-visiblized, all at once, making them more vulnerable; or how gender-equity enshrined in the SGD framework is a far cry—when it comes to their labour, rights or of collective bargaining and unionization, are important aspects that the field opens us to. While attempting to understand gender and urban spaces, we investigate whether the city actually improves the quality of life for everyone? For this, one must understand the qualitative difference between ‘city spaces’ and ‘village spaces’ for rural–urban migrants—are they better off, in terms of conditions, security, safety of women and violence against them? Or is there a multi-layered, system of exclusion—spatial, legal (state-administered), gendered, caste-based and even based on ‘urban aesthetics’. This calls in for radical community/member-based mobilization and participation by all stakeholders to make city spaces more inclusive and less precarious for the informal labourers—especially the women.


Gender Urban informality Urban spaces Urban exclusion Urban precarity 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology, Delhi School of EconomicsUniversity of DelhiNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.University Grants Commission, Human Resource Development CentreKumaun UniversityNainitalIndia

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