A sectoral approach to the study of gender constraints on economic opportunities in the informal sector in India

Paula K. Kantor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the contribution of a sectoral approach to understanding gender constraints on economic success in the informal sector, using the example of self-employed women in home-based garment production in Ahmedabad, India. The author assesses whether all the constraints laid out in the gender and microenterprise development literature affect women in this sector and, if not, suggests how theory on gender inequality in the microenterprise sector needs to be rethought to address variation by sector. Constraints are disaggregated into women intensive, women exclusive, and sector specific. The results show that the women-exclusive constraints all hold within this sector, that there is variation among the women-intensive constraints in their differential gender effect, and that some sector-specific constraints tend to be more intense for women relative to men. The latter two results suggest that variation by economic activity must be accounted for in understanding the sources and extent of gender inequality in economic outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-302
Number of pages18
JournalGender & Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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