Ecosystems of Engagement: Digital Platforms and Women’s Work in Sri Lanka and India

Aditi Surie, Ayesha Zainudeen, Gayashi Jayasinghe, Isuru Samaratunga, Krishna Akhil Kumar Adavi, Mukta Naik, Prerna Seth, Ramathi Bandaranayake, Ruwanka de Silva, Sabina Dewan, Shamindra Nath Roy,  Tharaka Amarasinghe  | 2022


“Over the last two decades, the world has witnessed a proliferation of digital platforms and the emergence of an ecosystem of digital work. In a world where evolving technology is constantly improving the efficiency of communication and production, the platform economy is reinventing the world of work. Platforms create new work opportunities that offer different nature of working conditions than have been available on the spectrum of informal and formal employment in India/global South. Claims that platforms create more employment are often countered by workers who see platform work as a ‘trade-off’ that offers the benefits of being employed as independent contractors of large platform companies while being subject to ‘chronic precarity and inequality’ (Heeks 2017).

To better understand women’s engagement with the ecosystem of digitally enabled work, between 2020 and 2023 we conducted further qualitative research in  collaboration with the Centre for Policy Research, India,  the Indian Institute for Human Settlements and World Resources Institute, India, and. The research aimed to assess the ecosystem within which women are engaging with digital work in India and Sri Lanka and the kind of impact that online platforms can create for women’s economic empowerment in order to inform updated labour market regulation and business practices. The final project report can be found below”