Eurasianet notes that the number of women plying for work at the Bokhtar labor market has grown sharply in the past year or so.

Workday of Tajik female casual hired laborers reportedly begins before dawn and lasts until the early evening.  

Day laborers muster in large groups at several points around the country. The only mardikor (casual laborers) bazaar where women can tout for work is in Bokhtar, the administrative center of Khatlon province, in southern Tajikistan.

People looking for female hands for hire turn up early.  Anybody who goes to the mardikor bazaar after five in the morning has no certainty of getting a job.

Eurasianet says pay for 12 hours usually comes to around 30-35 somoni (under $4.00).  The women can turn their hand to anything – carry bricks, build sheds, wash dishes and dig the fields, sometimes in temperatures up to 40 degrees Celsius.  The main thing is not to return home empty-handed.

Female mardikor are reportedly by and large the abandoned wives of men who have gone abroad for work, or divorcees with children.

The Bokhtar female laborer market appeared about seven years ago.  At the beginning, only around 20 to 30 women would muster.  The number has grown sharply in the past year or so, to around 100, according to Eurasianet.

The vicissitudes of life of the mardikor community are such that their children are often kept out of the education system.  Unable to get decent schooling and qualifications, they too are likely locked into a cycle of basic subsistence.