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Book chapter Book chapter Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Women Informal Sector Workers and Structural Adjustment in Zimbabwe
Authors:Brand, Veronica
Mupedziswa, RodrickISNI
Gumbo, PerpetuaISNI
Book title:Social Change and Economic Reform in Africa
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
Subjects:women's employment
informal sector
economic policy
Development and Technology
Labor and Employment
Sex Roles
Abstract:The fact that presently two thirds of the informal sector workers in Zimbabwe are women reflects certain fundamental characteristics of gender and household relations. Chief amongst these are that women face the double problem of exclusion from the formal sector and increasing financial responsibilities in a situation of dwindling resources. After a review of the factors affecting the growth of the informal sector in the 1980s, the authors discuss some salient features of this sector. Women predominate in the petty retail trade; their involvement in small-scale manufacturing activities is limited to four areas, namely the preparation of food and beverages, textiles, traditional crafts and personal services. The authors show that the negative effects of the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme, initiated in 1990/1991, though alleviated through a 'social dimensions of adjustment' package, are especially serious for low-income female-headed households. Increased female unemployment, rising prices and increased fees for social services require women either to work longer hours or further extend the range of their economic activities. The impact of ESAP is also likely to intensify existing patterns of differentiation within the informal sector.