Institute for Social and Economic Change
Working Paper: 532
Women, Employment and Stigma of Crime: Narratives of
Former Female Convicts from West Bengal
This research paper aims at gaining an insight into the experiences of formerly convicted female inmates at the workplace. The focus of this paper is to understand how the stigmatized status of the participants as former female convicts have created a barrier to secure employment and have shaped their experiences at the workplace. In-depth interviews were conducted, administering semi-structured interview guides and four major themes have emerged from their narratives. The themes illustrate the fear of the participants of their criminal record being disclosed, feelings of exploitation that they have encountered, experiencing discriminatory behaviour that has led them to manipulate their employers’ perception of their image. The findings illustrate that though criminal stigma is fundamental in the process of their labelling and discrimination, the participants have also been stigmatized for their gender, caste and class position.