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Characterising Women in the Informal Sector and Their Struggles to Eke a Living Lessons from Ruwa, Zimbabwe


  • Chirisa Innocent

    () (University of Zimbabwe, Dept of Rural & Urban Planning)


The paper maps and the struggles and challenges that women in the informal sector face in emerging satellite towns providing a case of Ruwa which is located some 20 kilometres from Harare the capital city of Zimbabwe. The study engaged forty women in informal sector and trading goods and services of various types with the objective of eking a living given the constrained job market dictated upon by the unstable macro-economic environment in urban centres and the country at large. Simple random sampling was adopted to cover street (off-plot) and on-plot activities by the women in the settlement. Besides, non-probability sampling applied with some of the respondents who the research interviewed to let the story of the realities of the women unfold. In their struggle to eke a living the women face and have to brace with challenges including exposure to elements weather (rain, wind, and the sun), service provision, marketing of products, and regulatory forces. Given the macro-economic stability the country has been facing since the year 2000, some of the stakeholders like the town council and private actors in Ruwa have been on a precarious position to offer services. The industry and other employment sectors are operating below capacity. Despite this ‘freeze’ situation, stakeholders can still work together inclusive of the women in the informal sectors to create a forum of dialogue. Through dialogue, it is possible to formulate poverty-reduction strategies that are accommodative of the plight and challenges of the peri-urban women and coin that in local developmental planning. The paper posits that a good governance approach is required in improving the life of the women in the informal sector in Ruwa and elsewhere.

Suggested Citation

  • Chirisa Innocent, 2013. "Characterising Women in the Informal Sector and Their Struggles to Eke a Living Lessons from Ruwa, Zimbabwe," Journal of Women's Entrepreneurship and Education, Institute of Economic Sciences, issue 1-2, pages 10-35.
  • Handle: RePEc:ibg:jwejou:y:2013:i:1-2:p:10-35

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    More about this item


    Poverty reduction; gender empowerment; institutions; policy dialogue; informal sector;

    JEL classification:

    • B54 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Feminist Economics
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs


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