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UN Pushes for Policies to Protect Women in informal Sector

By Lizzy Okoji

Monrovia (Liberia), April 14, 2021 (NAN) Mrs Sangeteta Thapa, Deputy Country Representative, United Nations Women in Liberia has called on the ECOWAS Parliament to come up with policies that will protect and recognize the contributions of women in the informal sectors.

Thappa made the call on Wednesday during a Technical Session on “Strategies to Empower Women Working in the Informal Sector” at the ongoing ECOWAS Parliament delocalized meeting in Monrovia, Liberia.

According to Thappa, women in the informal sector contribute a lot to the economy of countries in the ECOWAS Region but unfortunately, they are invisible and their contributions are not recognized.

Thappa however called on the ECOWAS Parliament not to limit their focus on women in the formal sectors but also push for policies that will protect and recognize women in the informal sector.

She said that the UN Women have been doing a lot to support Women Informal Cross Border Traders in Liberia, recognizing their huge economic contribution s of their trading activities in Liberia.

This she says relates to the challenges women Informal Cross Border Traders face even in other countries of the Sub region.

“Women are economic actors and the importance of women in the informal sector cannot be overemphasized.

“They are backbone to the society and their contributions are not formally recognized but they have proven themselves to be economic actors but their contributions are not visible.

“So it is very important to formalize their role and to recognise them to have an identity so that their contributions are recorded in the National Account system.

“That is something that is not recorded and something that we really need to push.

“As a region there could be a few things that could be done together but I think individually in each of these countries we need to take into considerations the constraints and the recommendations.

“The ECOWAS Parliament should also recognize their role in society and push for laws that will protect them and recognize their efforts.

“But as a regional body I think there should be a way to enforce mechanisms and monitor how they are implemented and how they are followed.

“And probably come up with a solution on actions to be taken if they are not monitored”, Thappa said.

In her Presentation, Hon. Salimata Ouatara, Charperson, Gender, Social Action and Health Committee, Burkina Faso said jobs in the informal economy in West Africa accounts for 76 per cent of the working population.

Outara said it is the most feminized sector with 53 per cent of informal workers being women and it plays a very important role in the empowerment of women in the ECOWAS region.

She said that it was important for Member States to take seriously capacity building of women in its informal sector to support and strengthen their businesses.

‘As long as women who are the majority in the population are not, or poorly integrated into economic growth, the impact of our State’s efforts on development will be less visible in terms of enrichment of the whole population.

“There is therefore a need to initiate and diversify inclusive, innovative strategies following the evolution of technology, that can contribute to the empowerment of women,” Outara said.

Dr Faye Ndoumbe, Programme Officer, Gender and Civil Society, ECOWAS Commission said there is need to promote advocacy so that laws can be changed in favour of women.

“We have to think of the best strategies and a law within the West African region to promote and protect women’s rights, including those in the informal sector”, Ndoumbe said. (NAN)


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