Antara Rai Chowdhury

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

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


Countries: India
States: Delhi, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Odisha
Cities: Delhi, Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Chennai
Languages: English, Hindi, Bengali

Antara Rai Chowdhury is part of the Academics & Research team at IIHS where she contributes to research and research management for various institutional projects. She also teaches at the Urban Fellows Programme.


A graduate of economics and development studies, she is interested in contributing to the understanding of the forces which (re)produce inequality, especially at the intersection of labor and women’s lives. Her work primarily engages with labour, cross-cutting with themes of migration, informal work, care work, social security, climate adaptation, and planning. The variety of work at IIHS is an opportunity to explore research methods in social science, operations in action projects, and learning about policy and development landscape.


She is currently working on projects that elucidate various aspects of women’s lives in the informal labour market: strategies and impact of mobilisation and unionisation, use and impact of digital platforms, linkages to formal social security and labour rights, child-care and creche models, employer orientation, and demand for labour in domestic work among others.


She has previously worked with CAARIA-ASSAR research team looking at natural and socio-economic transitions in peri-urban areas of Bengaluru and how they shape differential vulnerability and adaptive capacity. Here she contributed to the investigations of livelihood transition and diversification, and gendered impact of it.


Before joining IIHS, her master thesis was exploring the narratives of migrant women negotiating entry into the labour market from informal settlements in proximity to industrial areas of Delhi. It was a part of a larger study consortium ‘SHRAMIC’ supported by Tata Trusts, looking at identities and livelihood strategies of of workers engaged in industrial work.


  • Designing and Making a Survey, Methods , Urban Fellows Programme (UFP), IIHS
  • Methods in Primary Research, Methods, Urban Fellows Programme (UFP), IIHS

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., Chowdhury, A. R., Mehra, R., Sohane, N., & Sampat, K. (2023, August ). Social protection in Indian cities: lessons from the pandemic (IIED Policy Brief). IIED, London.
  • 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
  • Rai Chowdhury, A. (2023, July 10-12). Reproducing a Household: Recognising and Assessing Paid and Unpaid Housework in Urban India.
  • ILO 8th Regulating Decent Work Conference, Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Rai Chowdhury, A. (2023, March 1-3). Employers’ perspective on quality of employment in paid domestic work in India. Panel: “Labour And Migration In Times Of Crisis: Insights From Field Enquiries”. Indian Society for Labor Economics 63rd Annual Conference, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Rai Chowdhury, A. (2021, March 31). Challenges to improving women’s employment and childcare in Indian cities. Sixth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research HSG2020, Dubai (virtual).
  • Rai Chowdhury, A. & Bharti, M. (2020, January 16-18 ). Maternal and child health amongst domestic workers in Jaipur: Preliminary findings and methodological learnings. Urban ARC, Bengaluru, India.
  • Bhan, G., D’Souza, P., Gajjar, H., Margosa, N., Mehra, R., Priya, K., Rashmi, C. S., Chowdhury, A. R., Sampat, K., & Sohane, N. (2023). Lessons for social protection from the Covid-19 lockdowns. In Urban arc 2023: Cities in flux – IIHS annual research conference. Indian Institute for Human Settlements.
  • A Study to Explore Child Care and Feeding Practices among Working Women in the Informal Sector
  • Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR)—Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA)
  • Chief Minister of Rajasthan’s Economic Transformation Advisory Council (CMRETAC): Towards a Different Future of Work: A Framework for Informal Work and Workers in Urban Rajasthan
  • COVID-19 Social Science Research Evidence Platform: COVID Collective
  • Study on Examining Paid and Unpaid Domestic Work in Urban Homes
  • State of Occupational Safety and Health Practices at Workplace for Domestic Workers in COVID-19 and Possibilities for Action
  • Lessons for Social Protection from the COVID-19 Lockdowns
  • Domestic Workers and COVID-19: A Study of Impact and Recovery
  • Effects of Social Protection for Women in Informal Work on Maternal and Child Health Outcomes: A Systematic Literature Review
  • Informality and Child Care
  • Learning Study on Platform Design
  • Livelihood and Nurturing Care (LiNC)