Homeworkers, women employed mainly to stitch together the leather pieces constituting the upper of a shoe, provide both the low-cost labour and the flexibility that is so sought after in the footwear sector. These workers are invisible but play a vital role in the production of certain types of leather shoes, wherever they are manufactured. From Portugal to Bulgaria, from Eastern Europe to North Africa to India – homeworkers are to be found in the shoe supply chain and experience similar working conditions whatever the location. This report will focus on the production of a particular type of leather footwear – the casual leather shoe – and the experiences of thousands of women who produce them, mostly working at home in and around the Indian city of Ambur.
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