Report discusses methods to contain the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on informal women workers globally

Author: Rachel Moussié (WIEGO) & Silke Staab (UN Women), Published on: 28 May 2020

“Three ways to contain COVID-19’s impact on informal women workers”, 18 May 2020

Even before COVID-19, women informal workers in low- and middle- income countries reported that childcare responsibilities limited their participation, productivity and earnings. Now, school closures have intensified their workloads and reduced earnings [and those]…in vulnerable employment have been the first to lose their incomes and…may be less able to work as unpaid care demands increase and…public spaces become more unsafe. 

In low-income countries, 92% of women work informally,[many doing]…small-scale farming…, market or street vending, home-based work and domestic service. To prevent COVID-19 measures from taking a disproportionate toll on women informal workers, policymakers should focus on…i) extending access to social protection, ii) ensuring the rights and safety of essential informal worker and iii) supporting informal workers’ organizations.

Along with an increase in benefit levels…, [cash] transfers can make a real difference for women, enabling them to look for work when the crisis subsides by decreasing financial and child-care constraints. [Some] workers need protective equipment as well as income support as they take on higher risks. HomeNet South Asia (HNSA)…, has called for economic recovery funds to go to all informal workers and support home-based workers’ cooperatives [and]…is calling on brands and large corporations to extend minimum wage and social protections to home-based workers.

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