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Work B*tch! A Photo Essay About Female Construction Crews in India

Women carry firewood, men carry mobile phones

On my recent trip to Rajasthan, I noticed something I haven’t seen anywhere else in the world: all female construction crews. It would be hard to miss them, considering women in Rajasthan wear brightly colored saris on a daily basis, rendering hazard orange vests unnecessary. I saw women carrying everything from cow patties to bricks in baskets on their heads. The only male in sight was the one driving them to the construction site.

This female crew was working on road construction in Ranthambore National Park

I was on a game drive with some travelers from Canada who remarked,  “They seem to have three beasts of burden in India: camels, donkeys and women.”

An all female construction crew near Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan

I wouldn’t want to draw any conclusions about the state of women in India from my limited observations from my 10 day visit. But I did snap these images during my visit, and thought they were worth sharing. Props to these women for staying stylish on the job, no matter how dirty. I’d think the nose jewelry would get in the way, but they seemed unfazed by it.

A woman gathering cow patties to use as fuel in rural Rajasthan

Recently Bollywood starlet Mallika Sherawat came under fire when she called India “regressive and depressive”  during a press conference. It’s a story I might not have paid much attention to had I not been in India when it broke. Good for Ms. Sherawat for speaking her mind. I have nothing but respect for the women I saw on the job in India.