Proceedings of The 6th International Conference on Advanced Research in Social Sciences
Gendered Childhood and Enactment of Livelihood Capabilities: A Case Study of Trafficked and Rescued Working Children in Delhi
Dr. Shaweta Anand
In the post-colonial Indian context, social structures of caste, gender, and class continue to determine the quality of life of ordinary citizens. Based on my two-year engagement with rescued children for my doctoral thesis, I contend that working female children from poor socio-economic backgrounds experience childhood differently compared to working male children. More specifically, their gendered experience of childhood influences their self-perception as being more than ‘mere economic actors in low-income households’. In a nutshell, this paper discusses how gender and earning capabilities of children together inform their primary identity while simultaneously influencing the quality of relationships they have with others around them. This paper is derived from a qualitative study of trafficked and rescued children below 18 years of age living at two purposively selected Child Care Institutions (CCIs) in Delhi, India. The girl’s CCI followed a non-custodial i.e. a non-prison-like care model. It allowed the children space and scope for participating in a study like this where freedom of candid expression was a prerequisite, especially considering the largely conservative Indian mindset. The boy’s CCI was also relatively progressive and child-friendly despite being a custodial home. Like the girl’s CCI, it also allowed the children to freely interact with the researcher throughout the study.
keywords: child care institution, child labour, child protection, child welfare, identity