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22 March


Unregulated and Invisible: The Challenges Faced by Women Workers in Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka

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Session Description              

Women working in the unregulated sector often face a range of challenges, including low pay, poor working conditions, and limited job security. Owing to cultural perceptions of women’s status in society, many are also at a higher risk of sexual harassment and discrimination, particularly in industries where women are underrepresented. The unregulated nature of the work often limits women’s access to benefits such as health insurance and overtime pay, making it difficult for them to support themselves and their families. Additionally, the lack of oversight and legal protections only increases their chances of being exploited by employers and makes it more challenging for them to advocate for their rights and seek justice.

Session Objectives

This session will explore the experiences and challenges of women working in the unregulated sector in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Nepal, and discuss ways to advocate for the protection and promotion of their rights. 

In particular, this session aims to:

  • Create a platform for women with lived experiences of working in the unregulated sector to share their stories;

  • Discuss the gendered challenges faced by women workers and ways to address them;

  • Build consensus on action points for future advocacy at the national, regional and international level;

  • What are the existing challenges faced by women working in the unregulated sector in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal?

  • What types of remedies and support can women workers seek from their governments and employers?

  • How can the international community rally together to hold employers accountable for their actions?


Resource Persons
  • Ms. Samndi, women agricultural worker, Pakistan

  • Mr. Zia Ur-Rehman, Chief Executive, AwazCDS, Pakistan

  • Ms. Padmapriya Kanagaraj, Export Processing Zone worker, Sri Lanka

  • Mr. Sakuna M Gamage, Law and Society Trust, Sri Lanka

  • Women impacted by the Harawa-Charawa bonded labour system in Nepal

  • The Community Self Reliance Centre, Nepal


Session Format

The session will be a panel discussion with presentations from the resource persons. This will be followed by an open floor (question & answer) segment where participants can engage with the larger group. 

Session Partner



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