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Organizing digitally: opportunities for collectivization among female workers in South Asia

The rise of digitization in the economy and in labour markets is driving shifts in the relationships between workers, employers, consumers, governments, and worker’s rights organizations. The shift to platform-based work has the risk of disconnecting workers by allowing them to access jobs online and work in relative isolation. This reorganization has an impact on the governance of the labour market and how different voices will be heard in the future of work. There are also implications for the future of trade unions and similar organizations that are necessary to modernize and adapt.

With appropriate design, platforms can be harnessed to enhance the representation of women workers, to share information, to connect, and to collectivize in a changing labour market. This presents opportunities for workers on platforms, as well as those in traditional workplaces, to use technological advances to advocate for better conditions. This project explores how women manufacturing workers can use digital platforms to share grievances and communicate directly to the top of the supply chain, allowing their voices to contribute to the governance of the future of work.

The project will develop a scalable model for worker collectivization through digital platforms by reforming communication practices between workers at the bottom of supply chains with management at the top. It will also document strategies for workers themselves to use digital platforms to build their collective agency. Working with garment workers in India and Bangladesh, researchers will document how harnessing digital platforms for collectivization will enhance the voice and representation of women workers in a digital era.

Project ID
Project Status
30 months
IDRC Officer
Arjan De Haan
Total Funding
CA$ 371,900.00
Employment and Growth
Institution Country
Project Leader
Usha Raman
Erasmus University Rotterdam

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