Informal Women Workers in the Global South : Policies and Practices for the Formalisation of Women's Employment in Developing Economies book cover
1st Edition

Informal Women Workers in the Global South
Policies and Practices for the Formalisation of Women's Employment in Developing Economies

Edited By

Jayati Ghosh

ISBN 9780367545987
Published January 29, 2021 by Routledge
228 Pages 22 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Formalising employment is a desirable policy goal, but how it is done matters greatly, especially for women workers. Indeed, formalisation policies that do not recognise gendered realities and prevailing socio-economic conditions may be less effective and even counterproductive.

This book examines the varying trajectories of formalisation and their impact on women workers in five developing countries in Asia and Africa: India, Thailand, South Africa, Ghana and Morocco. They range from low- to middle-income countries, which are integrated into global financial and goods markets to differing degrees and have varying labour market and macroeconomic conditions.

The case studies, using macro and survey data as well as in-depth analysis of particular sectors, provide interesting and sometimes surprising insights. Despite some limited successes in providing social protection benefits to some informal workers, most formalisation policies have not really improved the working conditions of women workers. In many cases, that is because the policies are gender-blind and insensitive to the specific needs of women workers.

The impact of formalisation policies on women in developing countries is relatively under-researched. This book provides new evidence that will be applicable across a wide range of developing country contexts and will be of interest to policymakers, feminist economists and students of economics, labour, gender and development studies, public policy, politics and sociology.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction: The gender implications of formalising informal activities

Jayati Ghosh

Chapter 2: Insecurity of women workers and the chimera of formality in India

C.P. Chandrasekhar, Jayati Ghosh, Nancy Yadav and Shreya Sharma

Chapter 3: Growing informality and women’s work in South Africa

Hameda Deedat

Chapter 4: Does Formalisation Improve Women’s Work Conditions? A Review of the Regulatory Regime for Contract Farming and Domestic Trade in Ghana

Dzodzi Tsikata and Promise Eweh

Chapter 5: Striving for Formalization: Gender and Youth Aspects of Informal Employment in Morocco

Mouna Cherkaoui and Taoufik Benkaraach

Chapter 6: The socio-economic complexities of formalisation of women’s employment in Thailand

Jessica Vechbanyongratana, Yong Yoon, Warn Nuarpear Lekfuangfu and Peera Tangtammaruk


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Jayati Ghosh is Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, USA. She was previously Professor of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. She has taught and researched for over three decades in areas of development economics, international economics, gender and macroeconomics. She has won several national and international awards for her research and advised governments at different levels, international organisations and social activist groups on economic policy