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Working in the informal economy.

Authors
  • Kidder, T
Type
Published Article
Journal
Links : a newsletter on gender for Oxfam GB staff and partners
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2000
Pages
8–9
Identifiers
PMID: 12296264
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Informal ways of working are widespread and central to the economy and markets. This paper explores what informal economy is and how it could be more valuable for men and women. The informal economy is a mix of the following activities: 1) subsistence work which includes agriculture, marginal economic projects, and unpaid work in the home; 2) informal work which includes unregistered businesses, and illegal or criminal activities; 3) casual production, a sub-contracted or ¿off-the-books¿ work which deprives workers of the benefits tied to recognized employment; and 4) community work and barter. It is shown that more women, when compared to men, work and live on the border between the household and the market economy. Usually men do more technical or mechanized production while women tend to do activities within traditional women's roles. Men and women often have different understanding of what work is. Men consistently underestimate the women's contribution to the household income. To improve this critical issue of gender differences, rules, norms, and laws that cause problems must be identified, and then work can begin with both men and women to change laws and policies, as well as ideas and beliefs about women's contribution to the economy.

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