Paper

Gender, Informality and Poverty: A Global Review

How are women placed with regards to informal employment and incomes in developing countries?
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This paper examines the evidence from various countries on female informal employment and incomes. It traces the recent trends in female employment as well as its structure in developing countries using aggregate data.

The paper finds that:

  • Women participation in the labor force has risen in most countries;
  • With a fall in women's participation in agriculture, an increasing number of women are turning to the non-agricultural sector for jobs;
  • Except in Latin America, a majority of women in the developing countries do not have wage employment;
  • Much of female employment in Asia and Africa is self employment and unpaid.

It concludes that:

  • In the short term, improved access to credit can help women in the informal sector to increase their incomes;
  • Positive effect of credit will remain muted unless their access to complementary resources is improved;
  • Easing the constraints attributable to informality and market imperfections would enhance the effectiveness of credit as they facilitate resource mobility.

About this Publication

By Sethuraman, S.
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