Maternal Health and Access to Healthcare among Migrant Workers Engaged in Informal Construction Work (Ahmedabad, India)


Of the ten million women working in the construction sector in India a large proportion are temporary migrants from historically marginalized communities such as the Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Scheduled Castes (SC). The construction industry plays a critical role in providing income security to migrant women, many of whom hail from regions where opportunities for agricultural work are scant or seasonal in nature. However, despite the economic opportunities created by the construction sector, female migrant workers encounter high levels of exploitation and various forms of vulnerabilities at the worksite because of informal work arrangements that do not provide basic social or legal protections or employment benefits. While academic literature has extensively documented the social, economic and gendered implications of such informal work environments, our understanding of its consequences for the health and overall wellbeing of female workers remain grossly inadequate. In this study we examine how ‘migration’ and ‘informal work’ in the construction sector shape: a) maternal health experiences – during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period b) and female workers’ability to seek maternal healthcare.