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Gender Disparity: A Study of Coffee Plantation Workers in South India

Journal of Rural and Industrial Development

Volume 8 Issue 2

Published: 2020
Author(s) Name: Molly Chattopadhyay | Author(s) Affiliation: Professor, Economic Analysis Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India.
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Abstract

The current study focused on areas of gender inequality and discrimination in coffee plantations in Karnataka, with respect to the Plantation Labour Act, 1951. As per Census 2011, coffee plantations were major employers of women workers in Karnataka; out of a total of 4.8 lakh average daily workers employed in coffee plantations, 62% were women workers. The study concentrated on categories where gender discrimination in the labor market occurred mostly: employment status, payment of minimum wages, social security benefits, and conditions of work. A representative survey was conducted in four different types of plantations based on the holding size, namely large, medium, small, and marginal plantations. A total of 510 (283 male + 227 female) people were interviewed for the survey in Chikmagalur, Hassan, and Kodagu District of Karnataka, India. The findings showed that in the case of entitlement to other benefits, male-female disparity was found in all types of plantation units, from large to marginal coffee estates. In conclusion, it can be said that a majority of the workers – both male and female – had experienced a drop in wages and other benefits that they were entitled to under the PLA.

Keywords: Coffee, Plantation Labour Act, Gender Inequality, Plantation Size, Employment Status

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