Despite the fact that women are active agents shaping the prospects for development of countries in the global 'South', consideration of their productive role in the informal economy is still lacking from development discourse, policy and practice. This thesis argues that most women in India are participating in the labour market under precarious terms, irrespective of their rights as citizens and workers, during a heightened state of informalization that is unlikely to recede. Although the Government of India has attempted to examine employment relationships, the number of promising initiatives backed by the state is limited. Women's civil society has been effective in organizing workers to assert their social, political and economic rights. This thesis contends that economic empowerment strategies may be the most conducive to enhancing women's overall empowerment, and surmises that greater political will in support of such groups will lead to citizen-centred change.