Promoting Economic Empowerment for Women in the Informal Economy – WOW (2019)

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WOW Helpdesk Guidance No. 1, 2019 – 59 pages

To strengthen WEE outcomes, inclusive growth strategies should focus not only on creating jobs in the formal economy – and ensuring access to those jobs for women – but also on improving the quality of and returns to work in the informal economy. This Note aims to provide an analysis of the gender dynamics of informal work, and a set of corresponding recommendations. Additionally, pathways for improving economic outcomes for women informal workers across four key sectors are identified. The Guidance makes five overall recommendations on how to promote better jobs for women in informal economies as part of inclusive growth strategies and across all economic development programming:

  • Context-specific, gendered analysis of informal work and labour markets, as well as dialogue with stakeholders at the country, sector, or programme level.
  • Work with governments to remove discriminatory laws, promote legal recognition of informal workers and widen the coverage of social protection systems.
  • Partner with private sector companies and other actors to improve visibility of and outcomes for informal workers participating in their supply chains.
  • Monitor gender-related outcomes in terms of quality as well as quantity of jobs.
  • Increase coverage, quality, and accessibility of sex-disaggregated data on informal work.