Women in the informal economy and economic growth in Asia: opportunities and challenges

Arezou Sayadi, Regional Center for Population Research and Studies in Asia and the Pacific
pejman Samani, Expert of Management and Planning Organization

Informal employment is generally large source of employment for women and has grown very fast in developing countries. According to available statistics, India has enjoyed a growth rate in gross domestic product of about 6.5 per cent per annum over the last decades, which has been reflected in a reduction in poverty since the mid 1980's. Some of this growth has been associated with informal economy rather than formal economy such as manufacturing sector. In 1994-2000 women's informal employment as percentage of women's non-agricultural employment in India was 86 while the percentage of men in this sector was 83, the percentage of both sexes was 83, and the percentage of GDP in 1991 was 45. Statistics shows that in spite of the larger percentage of employment of both sexes in Indonesia and Philippines in 1994-2000 (78%, 72% respectively) than India, the GDP number for these countries (31% in 1998 and 32% in 1995 respectively) are lower than India. This article aims to determine the correlation between women informal employment and economic development in some other countries of Asia in comparison to India and some developed countries of the world. Besides, the opportunities and challenges of informal sector for both sexes in these countries will be discussed. This article is based on documentary study in Asia. Data sources are taken from the last information of UN, ILO, UNDP, and World Bank. Furthermore, the other sources having appropriate information may be used. According to other studies, it seems that although women employment paves the way for economic development and ultimately sustainable development, it varies according to sectors and context of countries women are working in.

Presented in Poster Session 3