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Fact of the week



84%: The proportion of employed women in sub-Saharan Africa working in the informal sector

Millennium Development Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
Target: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015

* Data refer to the most recent year available during the period specified.

In nearly all developing regions, 60 per cent or more of women engaged in non agricultural work activities are in informal employment. The exception is North Africa, where women’s participation in the informal sector is 43 per cent. Of the developing regions, sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rate of informally employed women (84 per percent). Individual developing countries show wide variation across regions.

Women working in the informal sector often face difficult working conditions, long hours and unscheduled overtime. The lack of job security and benefits such as paid sick leave and childcare provisions can leave women and their children at a higher risk of poverty. When mothers are poor, engaged in time-intensive, underpaid and inflexible informal work, and have little control over their earnings and few alternative caregivers, children are significantly more at risk of poor health and growth.

Data: Employment Sector, International Labour Office, Women and Men in the Informal Economy: A statistical picture,International Labour Organization, Geneva, 2002, page 19.

Source: UNICEF, The State of The World’s Children 2007, New York, 2006.



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