Welcome to Visible Work, Invisible Women.

Tribal woman carrying firewood on head

This video tour takes viewers around an entire exhibition of original photographs depicting the great range of work rural women do. All the photographs were shot by P. Sainath across ten Indian states between 1993 and 2002. These roughly span the first decade of the economic reform, and end two years before the launch of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

Four sets of the physical version of this exhibition have been seen by over 700,000 viewers in India alone since 2002. Its display venues have included bus and railway stations, factory gates, mass rallies of agricultural and other labourers, schools, colleges and universities. The entire body of work is now placed online for the first time on this site.

Visible Work, Invisible Women is perhaps the first fully digitised, curated, still-photo exhibition of its kind, in that it takes a physical exhibition (which has quite a bit of text and very large photographs) and presents it creatively online. Each panel has its own video of between 2-3 minutes on average. The final panel that wraps up the show is around 7 minutes.

The presentation allows you, the viewer, to view the video, listen to the accompanying commentary of the photographer, read the text, and see the individual still photos in better resolution.

You can do that by scrolling down the page after watching the video on it. Below the video on each page, you will find the original text and the still photos of that particular panel.

If you wish, you can also watch one panel at a time by clicking on the individual links below. That way you focus on what catches your interest. But you can also watch the entire exhibition in one continuous video if you wish - find this at the last link in the series below.

PHOTO • P. Sainath

PANEL 9B: Cleaning up!

OR the whole thing at one shot (this takes 32 minutes but shows you the entire exhibition, panel by panel, in sequence). To read the text, you’d have to go to the individual panel pages. But here’s the link to the 32-minute exhibition in full.

Visible Work, Invisible Women - Women and Work in Rural India (Video)

P. Sainath is the founder editor of the People's Archive of Rural India. He has been a rural reporter for decades and is the author of 'Everybody Loves a Good Drought'.

Other stories by P. Sainath