Formalising the Informal Economy: A Gender Perspective Research Project

A research project titled ‘Formalising the informal economy: A gender perspective’ was initiated by IDEAs in the beginning of 2018. This is a cross-country study involving- India, Thailand, Ghana, South Africa and Morocco. The objective of the project is to examine the specific attempts at formalisation and consider their impact on both the extent and the terms and conditions of women’s work. Depending upon the specific strategies adopted, the implications of formalisation for workers (especially women workers) may not be uniformly positive and there could be adverse unintended consequences, especially for the viability of some informal activities and the associated livelihood implications. This study attempts to draw out various impacts of formalising work in different economic activities, so as to enable a better understanding of the type of formalisation strategies that would improve the conditions faced by women workers. This study is exploratory in nature that seeks to identify the important and emerging issues, highlight areas that require immediate policy attention, and point to directions for future research that could usefully be undertaken.

In order to decide the broad research questions and the methodology to be used, a workshop was held in Bangkok on 23 April 2018. To track the progress of the work done a conference was held in New Delhi at the end of November. The details of the workshop and the conference are discussed below.

Bangkok Workshop, Thailand, 23 April 2018.

To work out a common broad approach and methodology for the project titled “Formalising the informal economy: A gender perspective”, a workshop was held in Bangkok, Thailand on 23 April 2018. In the workshop, the detailed research proposals of each country were shared, commented upon and revised accordingly. The studies all involved both desk work and field work, and combined analysis of the available secondary literature and officially published data with small surveys designed to identify particular processes and provide some qualitative information. Professor Jayati Ghosh, Professor C.P. Chandrasekhar, Hameda Deedat and Dzodzi Tsikata participated in the workshop.   

Delhi Workshop, India, 29-30 November 2018.

The workshop on Women Workers in the Informal Economy, held at India International Centre on 30th November 2018. The discussions looked at the gender implications of formalising informal workers. Session 1 looked at international experiences ( South Africa, Ghana, Thailand) and Session 2 was on the Indian case.

Click here for the programme