Monday, September 26, 2016

Rural women in India pursuing urban dreams

Ellen Barry reported yesterday in the New York Times on a specific type of rural-to-urban migration in India--that of young women moving to mega cities for jobs in manufacturing.  In doing so, they move away from village life, which is very protective of young women and girls.

Here's an excerpt from this beautifully written feature, which begins with the girls entering a factory floor where garments are being sewn for Marks & Spencer:
The new girls smell of the village. ... The tailors glance up for only a moment, long enough to take in an experiment. The new workers — teenagers, most of them — have been recruited from remote villages to help factories like this one meet the global demand for cheap garments. But there is also social engineering going on.
Barry goes on to explain the motivation behind that social engineering:  India's gross domestic product would increase 27% if female employment were on par with male employment.  According to a 2012 survey, 205 million Indian women aged 15-16 "attend[] to domestic work."   Economists say that will have to change if India is to realize its potential.

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