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Title:Socio-economic efficacy of Mahila Bazaar
Author(s):Rastogi, Swati
Advisor(s):Doussard, Marc J
Department / Program:Urban & Regional Planning
Discipline:Urban Planning
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
vendor market
street vendor
Abstract:Mahila Bazaar is a women-only street vendors’ market in New Delhi, India. A non-government organization, SEWA Delhi, set this market up in the nation’s capital in 2009. It is a unique experiment and the first of its kind in the country where a vendors’ market is legally set up and reserved exclusively for women vendors. In the social context of the country, where gender segregation is high, this gender-specific market aims to provide safety to the women vendors who face harassment and abuse in other mixed-gender vendor markets of the city. Male vendors and public officials often cause this harassment. Besides, these markets lack infrastructural facilities such as lack of toilets or access to healthy meals and potable water. These issues add to that abuse making it difficult for women to earn their living peacefully. The study questions whether or not the exclusive women’s market improves the lives of its women vendors. It starts with the premise set forth by the core objective of designing the Mahila Bazaar. As described by SEWA Delhi, the market provides women vendors, safety from the harassment and abuse that they otherwise face in traditional mixed-gender markets. The market also eliminates eviction and threats of confiscation of goods for vendors by legitimizing the vending spaces. The second premise on which the study builds is the perception of the Bazaar’s success in achieving SEWA’s intended objective. According to the previously conducted studies and the reports generated by the media, the Bazaar successfully achieves its aim- the women in this market feel safer and no longer face any sexual harassment. They do not face any eviction threats, either. Despite the perceived success of this market model, it did not succeed in getting implemented at ten other locations across the city by the year-end of 2017, as intended by SEWA Delhi. The previously conducted academic study, too, pointed out that the Bazaar was a successful social experiment but could not generate enough economic profits for its women vendors as compared to the other mixed-gender markets. The research attempts to investigate possible reasons for the socio-economic malfunction of Mahila Bazaar, if any, and to build a framework of recommendations that can be used to design safer, more inclusive, and economically efficient markets for women street vendors.
Issue Date:2020-05-15
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Swati Rastogi
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-08-26
Date Deposited:2020-05

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