Knowledge Resource

From Gin Girls to Scavengers: Women in Raniganj Collieries

Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt
Women from lower caste and adivasi populations were initially employed by the coal mining business in various production phases. As long as technology remained labor-intensive and collieries remained tiny and surface-bound, their position remained crucial. Women's participation decreased as the sector grew and became more mechanised. This paper describes how the work of resource extraction becomes gendered, the increasing marginalisation of women, their alienation from access to environmental resources, and their transformation into illegitimate and invisible beings. It is based on research conducted in the eastern Indian coalbelt of Raniganj.