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Nashra Mahmood '17 at the Galesburg Farmer's Market. #

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Nashra Mahmood '17

Udhailiyah, Saudi Arabia

Majors in Gender and Women's Studies & Economics

Nashra’s internship in India led to an Honors project on women in trade unions.

Nashra Mahmood '17 at the Galesburg Farmer's Market.

Describe your research.

My research is tentatively titled "Comparative Study on the Women in the Informal Sector of India," but it more specifically focuses on organization and worker identity in the informal sector. Organizing a group of workers is a hard task to begin with, so when trade unions decide to organize one of the most vulnerable groups in the market (informal women workers), they have to battle against cultural, legal, and social agents heavily present in India.

My research takes a look into what factors motivate or deter women from joining a trade union, worker identities of women who are organized, versus women who aren't, and provides a different picture of the informal sector, where women have active agency.

What sparked your interest in this topic?

Last summer, I interned at SEWA (Self-Employed Women's Association), a trade union, where I got the opportunity to work with street vendors on political campaigns. The internship gave me an opportunity to act as a translator for a researcher from the London School of Economics. The translating opportunity gave me hands-on experience in conducting qualitative field work and taught me how to connect with potential participants.

How has Knox helped you prepare for this research?

Without the help of Richter Funding, I would not have been able to intern at SEWA last summer. Through their financial support, I was able to gain experience and stay in India for three months. Additionally, the copious amounts of research papers I have written over the course of the past two years have definitely prepared me to do this Honors research.

Without the invaluable support and guidance of my Honors Committee (Professor Kampwirth, Professor Raley, and Professor Roy-Fequiere), this project would not be possible. They have all taken a lot of time to edit, proofread several drafts, and push me to write better. I have taken classes with all of them, and each of them has encouraged me to write papers on my own research interests, which definitely helped me do the research I am doing today.

Where do you hope see yourself after graduation?

I hope to go to graduate school. I have been accepted to UCLA's gender studies Ph.D. program, so I am planning on pursuing an academic route. With graduate school, I will have a lot of opportunities to conduct research on a larger scale.

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Printed on Sunday, December 17, 2017

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