Antara Rai Chowdhury

Senior Associate - Academics & Research | arai at iihs dot ac dot in

2015 MA, Development Studies, Ambedkar University, Delhi
2013 BA, Economics (Hons), Ramjas College, University of Delhi, Delhi


Countries: India
States: Delhi, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Orissa
Cities: Delhi, Bangalore
Languages: English, Hindi, Bengali

Antara is a part of the Academics & Research team at IIHS. A graduate of economics and development studies, with a focus on global south, she is particularly interested in labor studies and development studies, cross-cutting with themes of migration, gender, and informal work and employment.

At IIHS, she provides assistance in research and fieldwork for institutional projects. The work at IIHS is an opportunity to explore research methods in social science research, and learning about policy and development work.


She is currently assisting on a project exploring child-feeding knowledge and practices among working women in informal sector in the urban, allowing her to look at the linkages between employment conditions and health outcomes. She is also working with CAARIA-ASSAR in their research stream looking at natural and socio-economic transitions in peri-urban areas of Bangalore and how they shape differential vulnerability and adaptive capacity. In particular she is investigating livelihood transitions/diversifications and gendered impact of such transitions.

She was previously a liaison and Research Assistant for the School of Economic Development (SED) at IIHS, co-coordinating and providing research assistance on proposals, and liaising communications and outreach, and executive management for the School.

Before joining IIHS, she has worked and volunteered with several projects for field assistance. Her master thesis project was exploring the narratives of negotiating entry into the labor market among migrant women living in a basti in a Delhi Industrial Area. It was a part of a larger study looking at ‘Migration and Industrial Work: Worker Identities and Livelihood Strategies’.

Research Projects at IIHS

2016 – 2017Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR)
2016 – 2017WHO Study on Child Care Practices of Women Working in the Informal Sector
2016JP Morgan Chase- Apprenticing and MSMEs in India
2016Ecosystems Services for Poverty Alleviation May 2016 call
2016Ecosystems Services for Poverty Alleviation May 2016 call
2015The Indo-Swiss Faculty Exchange Programme

Journal Article

  • Sampat, K., Chowdhury, A. R., & Bhan, G. (2022). Recovery as resilience: Domestic work and workers in the aftermath of COVID-19. Economic & Political Weekly, 57(5), 34-39.
  • Chowdhury, A. R., Surie, A., & Bhan, G. (2021). Breastfeeding knowledge and practices of working mothers in the informal economy in New Delhi: A formative study to explore new intervention pathways towards improved maternal and child health outcomes. Social Science & Medicine, 281, Article 114070.
  • Horwood, C., Surie, A., Haskins, L., Luthuli, S., Hinton, R., Chowdhury, A., Rollins, N. (2020). Attitudes and perceptions about breastfeeding among female and male informal workers in India and South Africa. BMC Public Health 20, 875 (2020).


Other Writing

  • Bhan, G., Ravindranath, D., Rai Chouwdhury, A., Mehra, R., Sinha, D., Kiran, A., & Malladi, T. (2022). Reproducing a household: Recognising and assessing paid and unpaid domestic work in urban India. Indian Institute for Human Settlements.
  • Bhan, G., Ravindranath, D., Rai Chouwdhury, A., Mehra, R., Sinha, D., Kiran, A., & Malladi, T. (2022). Deficits in decent work: Employer perspectives and practices on the quality of employment in domestic work in Urban India. Indian Institute for Human Settlements.
  • Bhan, G., Ravindranath, D., Rai Chouwdhury, A., Mehra, R., Sinha, D., Kiran, A., & Malladi, T. (2022). Employer practices and perceptions on paid domestic work: Recruitment, employment relationships, and social protection. Indian Institute for Human Settlements.
  • Neethi, P., Chowdhury, A. R., & Ravindranath, D. (2022, March 8). International women’s day | working women too, with a dream of good childcare. The Hindu.
  • Ravindranath, D., Chowdhury, A. R., Surie, A., & Bhan, G. (2021). Effects of social protection for women in informal work on maternal and child health outcomes: A systematic Literature Review. Indian Institute for Human Settlements.
  • Bhan, G., Rai Chowdhury, A., & Mehra, R. (2021). State of occupational safety and health practices at workplace for domestic workers in COVID-19 and possibilities for action. International Labour Organization.–en/index.htm
  • Bhan, G., Rai Chowdhury, A., Margosa, N., Sampat, K., & Sohane, N. (2020). Lessons for social protection from the Covid-19 lockdowns report 1 of 2: State Relief. Indian Institute for Human Settlements.
  • Chowdhury, A. R., Bhan, G., Sampat, K., & RMKU. (2020). Impact of COVID-19 and lockdowns on domestic workers: First report. Rajasthan Mahila Kaamgaar Union (RMKU); Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS).
  • Rama, Meena, Snehlatha & Antara (2020, June 16). Rajasthan: how a small labour union helped domestic workers tide over the lockdown. The wire.
  • Chowdhury, A. R., & Surie, A. (2018, September 4). To work or breastfeed: tough choice sets back women in India’s informal economy. Indiaspend. Retrieved from
  • 2015    Master’s thesis – Women, migration and the world of work: Narratives of women negotiating the labour market from a Delhi Slum
  • 2014    Internship Report – Exploring experiences and understanding perceptions. The report discusses occupational mobility in Wazirpur Industrial Area, Delhi, and individual bargaining strategies of ‘informal’ wage workers