A beauty service at home is a growing trend among New Delhi’s fashion-conscious women. But the city’s mobile beauticians are not only a convenience for busy urban women, but a way for the city’s enormous numbers of urban poor to increase their income. ILO TV explains.

Date issued: 13 October 2005 | Size/duration: 00:02:06 (3.30 MB)
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Life is hectic in any big city but getting around New Delhi can present some unique challenges. It’s hard to get to work, but it’s even harder finding a job in this urban setting. That’s why many workers have turned to the informal economy to make a living.

Need a haircut? Walk no further. But for those who prefer to stay at home, Omvati, makes house calls. She’s a mobile beautician, part of a popular trend among Delhi’s busy women.

Jasvinder Kaur: Client

There are many benefits to having a beautician come to my home. I can ask her to come at a time convenient to me. It also saves me travel time and since I’m at home, I can still oversee my household activities.

It gives Omvati control of her schedule and her own business as well. According to the International Labour Office, over 90 percent of total employment in India is generated by informal work. For Omvati, that used to mean cleaning and cooking for other people while her own children waited at home.

But an ILO course that targets women in the urban informal economy gave her the skills to become a beautician.

Omvati: Mobile Beautician

I did not join a beauty salon because I don't have time to work their hours. I have two children and I need to take care of them.

Her income has doubled since she began her house calls and she has more time to spend taking care of her children.

Ardash Sarvaria: ILO Project Manager

The work won’t come unless you provide them with skills. A large majority of women in the informal sector can’t work because they have no skills....

In a country where nearly half the labour force is made up of the working poor, targeting women like Omvati will go a long way towards meeting UN goals of reducing poverty by the year 2015.