1st Edition

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

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after December 29, 2020
ISBN 9780367545994
December 29, 2020 Forthcoming by Routledge
240 Pages 22 B/W Illustrations

USD $160.00

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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 different 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 some social protection benefits to some informal workers, most formalisation policies have not really improved conditions, especially for 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 policy makers, feminist economists and students of economics, labour, gender and development studies, public policy, politics and sociology.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

List of Contributors

Chapter 1: Introduction

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

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

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

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

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


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Jayati Ghosh is Professor of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. 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