With the advent of globalisation, in India, sectors related to international trade are seen as engines of growth and development. Importantly, growth in trade has created opportunities that were non-existent for women; but why? This film is an exploration of the trade and gender linkages, direct and indirect, in three export sectors in India; and poses the question, is India ready to accord its women their rightful share in the economy and society?
The film criss-crosses the lives of three women on a typical day, either at home or work, while they go through their daily chores in closed spaces. The economic, social, cultural and personal impacts of demands of trade are revealed through perceptions of multiple actors, who compete with each other but do not emerge victors. The camera angles are used in a pattern to reflect the power relationship in the society and space available to women.
Chun Kamei, who hails from Manipur, is working in an international Business Process Outsourcing unit in New Delhi. She is compelled to live and work away from home due to lack of opportunities back home. Her work has given her freedom and an opportunity to earn; but possibly endangers the very future she is trying to build and alienates her from the world around.
Agnes, a 58 year old homeless door-to-door fish vendor living in Thiruvananthapuram, comes in contact with international trade as the invisible hands of market operate. She works through the night-and-day, while engaged in a losing battle against motorisation of fish selling.
At Tirupur, Prema, a garment worker, faces an uncertain future while facing competition from young girls who are trying to make their own future. She has to go through the demanding work in the export units despite facing the social stigma associated with such jobs to help her family.
The stories depict complex economic and social forces at play in a country that is trying to pull away from under development and orthodox values; where the charge towards modernity and economic growth are hailed as success. However, who pays for the transition costs and how? This film tries to brings visibility to the faces and amplify voices of those who are often forced to pay the maximum price- women.
The film is a valuable watch for civil society organisations working on labour issues, trade, gender rights, and equality; academia; firms and industry associations; policy and decision makers in the government; international non-governmental entities working on trade and gender; international buyers, consumers in the international markets and funding agencies.