As women working at India's Urban Company, an app-based firm providing beauty and home care services, prepared for a nationwide protest against its new rules and account deactivations, they exchanged hundreds of messages on WhatsApp on every small detail of the days-long action.

Thousands of Urban Company's female employees, backed by the All India Gig Workers' Union, took to the streets in July in about half a dozen Indian cities to protest unfair response and rating requirements that led to their accounts being blocked.

It was the first nationwide labor action by female gig workers in India, where the rapidly expanding platform economy is dominated by men, and women have not been a part of trade unions because of the largely informal nature of their work.