EMPLOYMENT, INGENUITY, AND FAMILY LIFE: RAJASTHANI WOMEN IN DELHI, INDIA
This study is concerned with how Rajasthani, migrant women living in Delhi maintain their respectability while improving their families' standards of living through generating income. Before this problem could be studied other related questions had to be answered. What makes a woman respected in her community? How do women who go out for work adapt their behavior to meet the North Indian requirements for female isolation? How strong is the stigma against women seeking employment? Are there times in a woman's life or the development of the households she belongs to that family responsibilities take precedence over making money?; This research is also concerned with relationships within the family and how they change over time. Relatives affect all the decisions that a woman makes, and seeking employment is no exception. The methods used for this research were a pre-study, an interview schedule, and participant observation. A Delhi resettlement community of Rajasthani migrants was selected and the pre-study, discussions and interviews were carried out to test the relevance of the questions. The research entered a new phase when a standardized interview schedule was composed and administered to a random sample of households. Participant observation was used throughout the year's field work. A survey of all households in one resettlement block was taken for a general view of the area. Several conclusions can be drawn as a result of this research. Women who need income for the basic needs of their families will go out to work and other women will work to improve conditions for their children. But whatever the motivation for employment, the women will abide by the community's standards and customs for female behavior. While a woman's children are young she will stay home and find income producing activities that can be done along with childcare. One group of women was encouraged to work: widows. These women were often the head of a household that included grown sons and their wives. The strength and ingenuity of Rajasthani migrant women is an untapped source in this community.