Using the feminist lens of women economic empowerment and the concepts of resources, agency, and achievements, and the inter-related concepts of power, this article shares the experience of women beauty workers and women cab drivers working on different types of platform models in India. While beauty work is essentially a feminised sector of work in India, ride-hailing is a male-dominated form of work. The analysis is drawn from in-depth interviews with women workers, platform management, and union leaders, among others, to understand struggles and ways of ‘being and doing’ of women workers on platforms. The article presents the different types of platform models – freelance, fixed salary, and hybrid – and the differential impacts of these models on the working conditions of the women in these two sectors. The article then continues to unravel the concept of ‘flexibility and autonomy’, and the precarious nature of work for these different contractual arrangements as well as the implications of algorithmic controls and management on women workers. It eventually highlights that this ‘new’ gig economy contributes to the continuation of the informal nature of work, along with the precarity of the same, which hinders their ability to achieve empowerment.
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