by Bashiratu Kamal
Ghana, my country of birth, has a population of about 30 million out of which 51% are women. The majority of these women in the workforce (85%) can be found in the informal economy. This situation is not unique to Ghana. According to an International Labour Organization (ILO) survey conducted in 2015, women are more likely to be engaged in informal employment than men. It is estimated that in Africa 74% of women’s non-agricultural employment is informal in contrast with 61% for men. In many parts of the continent, work in the informal economy is not regulated by labour laws and is thus precarious. Many people working in the informal economy are not there by choice; they would rather work in the formal sector due to the assumption that it guarantees better income and protection for women workers. Drawing on the case of Ghana, I argue that contrary to this assumption, the formal economy itself is bedevilled with precarity and informality. This is due to the continuous deregulation and strengthened protection for corporations vis-à-vis workers, especially women.
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