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Globalization and Securing Rights for Women Informal Workers in Asia

Jeemol Unni

Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, 2004, vol. 5, issue 3, 335-354

Abstract: The major paradigms of the development discourse have recently incorporated the language of rights. To move from the rhetoric of human rights to concretely elaborate the content of rights for informal workers, particularly women, in Asia is the purpose of this paper. Using a rights-based approach to development, the paper takes up the issue of gender-enabling worker rights in the context of developing economies that are increasingly open to external influences. A matrix of rights consisting of the right to work, broadly defined, safe work, minimum income and social security are identified as core issues for informal workers. Further, we focus attention on four specific groups of informal workers: self-employed independent producers and service workers, self-employed street vendors, dependent producers such as homeworkers and outworkers, and dependent wageworkers. Gender-sensitive micro-economic and macro-economic and social polices are identified for each of these segments of the informal workers. The access to economic, market and social reproduction needs are to be addressed simultaneously to ensure the basic matrix of rights for women informal workers in developing countries. Each of the needs of the workers have to be viewed as a right and a system of institutions or mechanisms that will help to bring these rights to the center of policy have to be worked out. The claim of women and informal workers for a voice in the macro policy decisions through representation at the local, national and international levels is at the heart of the rights-based approach.

Keywords: Informal sector; Economics; Women; Gender; Human rights; Macro policy; Globalization (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2004
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DOI: 10.1080/1464988042000277233

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