National Gender Fellowships on Gender and the Digital Economy

 As part of our ongoing projects on gender and the digital economy, IT for Change invited proposals and pitches under two National Gender Fellowship tracks.

1. Research Fellowship, under the European Commission supported project, Centering Women in India’s Digitalizing Economy.

2. Fellowship for Longform Essay, as part of The Feminist Observatory of the Internet, our collaboration with the World Wide Web Foundation.

Through Fellowships targeted at early-career researchers and writers, we see an opportunity for field-building in a nascent, but cutting-edge, area of scholarship. We seek to contribute rigorous research and analysis on key questions that concern the future of women’s work in India, catalyzing a body of knowledge that engages with existing scholarship, while exploring new horizons in the domain of digitalization. The objective is not only to build critique but also to propose ways forward.

Meet Our Fellows

Our diverse and interdisciplinary network of 20 fellows are, through research on a broad array of topics, working towards the shared goal of building a feminist future of work in India's digital economy.

Track 1: Research Fellowships

Aparna Asokan
Legal academic and an independent researcher.

Aparna's research paper focuses on the impact of remote working on women employees in the IT-ITES sector and attempts to identify the decent work deficit in remote working.

Read her research proposal here.

 

Aishwarya Shridhar
EdTech content designer at BYJU'S.

Aishwarya's study aims to understand the impact of digitalization on the sex work industry by exploring how Indian women utilize adult webcam platforms as a source of income.

Read her research proposal here.

 

Swati Rao
Law and public policy professional

Swati's research proposes to understand various barriers for women workers engaging in gig work, whether gig platforms are equipped to address these, and the government's regulatory response, resulting in a “Regulatory Roadmap for Gig Work” which will provide recommendations on policy interventions along four dimensions: Safety and security, data protection and privacy, wage security and dispute redressal.

Read her research proposal here.

 

Rhea D'Silva
Sociology teacher at The Valley School, Bangalore.

Rhea's project is interested in exploring the processes that take place between diverse hiring and inclusion for women designers who are a part of a team designing tech products.

Read her research proposal here.

 

Sruthi Kalyani A
Research scholar at the Centre for East Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Sruthi's project intends to study the extent of female participation and alternate forms of value creation in Indian makerspaces. It attempts to bring in the discourse of generative justice and personal agency in these emerging innovation spaces.

Read her research proposal here.

 

Ann Mary Biju
Program Manager in ed-tech.

Through this project, Ann will compare various online and offline women service providers of the platform economy in terms of the nature of threats they face, worker safety, redressal mechanisms available and awareness among employees of the same, support systems desired from platforms to facilitate safe working environments for women and their future aspirations in life.

Read her research proposal here.

 

Sapni G K
Research Analyst, Takshashila Institution, Bengaluru; Co-Founder, robos of Tech Law and Policy

Sapni's research will analyze the politico-legal concerns for platform cooperatives while couching them on socio-economic realities to enquire whether platform cooperatives can be a viable feminist alternative to corporate platforms in India. It will propose possible policy solutions and positive regulation that can position platform cooperatives as a viable alternative in India. 

Read her research proposal here.

 

Abhiruchi Chatterjee
Abhiruchi Chatterjee is an independent researcher and development consultant

Abhiruchi's research examines the digital empowerment of women-led small businesses through government schemes and interventions - the impact on women entrepreneurs' individual empowerment and sustainability and outreach of the business.

Read her research proposal here.

 

Aanchal Dhull
Aanchal has a Ph.D. in Women's and Gender Studies. Her work focuses on the urban middle class in India and the outsourcing patterns of domestic chores.

Aanchal's study aims to understand the gradation of skill in the context of digital platforms and whether digitalization of domestic work can transcend social profiling or does it further reinforce the laboring patterns along caste, class, and religious identities of domestic workers.

Read her research proposal here.

 

Arya Chandran L
Assistant Professor, Bharata Mata College, Kochi, Kerala

Arya's study aims to understand the Opportunities and Challenges of market digitalization for coastal women fish vendors.

Read her research proposal here.

 


 

Track 2: Long Form Essays

Malavika Parthasarathy
Legal researcher

Agency in Influencer Culture: How Skincare, Beauty and Fashion Influencers Engage with Platform Capitalism
This essay focuses on skincare, fashion, and beauty influencers, and their relationship with the platform economy. While influencers in this space perform gendered labor to attain financial independence and decisional autonomy, they are also vulnerable to the demands of platform capitalism.  Through interviews with influencers in this space, the essay will primarily explore two dichotomies. The first is how influencers in this space use their gendered labor as a tool for empowerment and subversion while grappling with the uncertainties and vulnerabilities of platform capitalism. The second explores the socio-economic factors that determine the monetization of influence, against the backdrop of the stark inequalities that pervade Indian society.

  

Debarun Sarkar
Doctoral candidate at the Department of Sociology, University of Mumbai.

Of Sex Work, Payment and the Future of Work
This essay focuses on the risk of de-platforming of sex workers Though the censorship of payments has long been a topic of discussion among crypto-enthusiasts and crypto-communities driven by a cypherpunk ethos, the threat of de-platforming of sex workers on one of the largest platforms where they had gathered demands thinking through payment-as-expression in the capitalist regime.

 

Nadia Nooreyezdan
Independent journalist and writer based in Mumbai.

On Being Watched: How Surveillance Impacts Women’s Work
Nadia's article will examine the ways in which both the state and the family use tools of surveillance to keep a watch on women, under the guise of ensuring their safety. Surveillance technology is being implemented on small and large scales at a rapid pace in India. With work being one of the more justifiable reasons to leave the home, how does constant surveillance change women’s behaviors or impact their ability to work at all?

 

Mitali Nikore
Mitali Nikore is an economist, policy specialist, and the founder of youth-led research group Nikore Associates.

Women Entrepreneurs and the Digital Economy: Analyzing Exclusion from Digital
Marketplaces during COVID-19 With a post-pandemic recovery promising a scenario where our professional lives go entirely remote, digital literacy is a pivotal method via which women can seek out entrepreneurial pursuits with higher wages and high growth opportunities. In the backdrop of a dismal female labor force participation rate (FLFPR), and an escalating digital divide, it is essential to study the impact of the digital economy on women’s entrepreneurship as an emerging issue in India.

 

Eisha Choudhary
Eisha is a doctoral candidate at the department of social work, Jamia Millia Islamia University.

Muslim Women Engaged in Entrepreneurship: Negotiating the Intersectionalities of Identity, Religion and Work in a Digital Space
Eisha's essay aims to explore and present the lived realities of Muslim women engaging in entrepreneurship in a digital space by examining the opportunities and vulnerabilities they experience at the intersection of identity, faith, and work.

 

Svetha Venkatram
Independent researcher

How are women using incubators and technology to scale their start-ups?
Svetha's long-form article will examine the technology support environment prevailing at incubators, women’s interactions with digital technology, the rise of virtual incubation programs since the onset of COVID-19, and women’s interest to participate in these - all from the perspective of women who either head or manage incubation programs or those who have used an incubation program to scale their idea. It will also offer policy recommendations that may help to bridge gaps in women's access to digital technologies and opportunities to scale their start-ups.

 

Intifada P. Basheer
Multimedia journalist

A Look Into AI’s Gender Problem In Indian Call Centre Industry
The essay analyses how and why female call center employees in India stand to lose the most due to advancement in Artificial Intelligence (AI). It also examines the impact of work-from-home models on male and female employees and the need to revamp school and college education so as to impart youngsters with necessary frontier technology skills and thereby countervail job losses that are likely due to automation.

 

Vijayeta Rajkumari
Developmental professional

 

Gender and Digital Divide: Handloom Weavers in North-East India.
This Long-form essay will look into digitalization and its impact on handloom weavers in North-East India specifically Assam where the majority of the weavers are women.

 

Abir Dasgupta
Independent journalist

Understanding Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy and anti-vaxx in India
This article will cover the online ecosystem of anti-vaxx in India as it exists and covers the range of factors that lead to vaccine hesitancy and their effects on communities underserved by the public health system.

 

Maduli Thaosen
Qualitative researcher & communications specialist

Locating Northeast India's Tribal Women and LGBTQIA+ in India's Feminist Digital Media Economy
This essay seeks to critically look at mainstream feminist digital media platforms and initiatives, and analyze the representations of Northeast Tribal women and LGBTQIA+ individuals and bring to fore the various degrees of engagement with their issues in these spaces, and also foreground the voices and aspirations of feminist organizations and groups from Northeast India, and highlight the challenges they face in navigating the digital landscape.

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