Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Women and the Informal Sector

According to the estimates from the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), over 500 million people - a staggering more than a quarter of the world's working population - are working in the informal economy worldwide.

The informal economy accounts for more than 35% of the world's gross national product and employment growth in the informal economy has been approximately 5% per year compared to employment growth in the formal, legally regulated economy has been barely 1%.

It is an undisputed fact that women workers are disproportionately represented in the informal economy all over the world. Women workers in the informal economy are a growing number and are one of the most vulnerable groups in society. These women workers are involved in diverse jobs such as agriculture workers, forest workers, fish workers, rag pickers, construction workers, home-based workers, domestic helpers, street vendors, contract or dispatch workers, part-time workers, casual workers and workers in very small enterprises.

Recently there have been attempts to recognize the needs of women in the informal economy and the following article highlights a rich mapping of the work currently carried out in the Asia Pacific with regards to organizing women in the informal sector.

Read more: "Informal work - getting back to 'bread and butter' union action"