Women, Informal Employment, and Social Protection in Latin America
The paper presents an overview of the situation of women in informal employment in Latin America and their access to social protection, and examines key public policy issues in extending social protection to this group. Informal employment has risen in Latin America in the last two decades. This is a product of economic crises, labour market liberalisation, and welfare reforms. There is an important gender dimension to informality. Women are over-represented in informal employment, and they are also over-represented in lower paid and precarious occupational groups within informal employment. As social protection entitlements in the region are largely dependent on employment status, women in informal employment are often excluded from formal social protection programmes. Reform of labour market institutions and social protection programmes is needed to extend social protection to this group. Integrated policy interventions aimed at supporting women's life course decisions could have an important effect in reducing their over-representation in informal employment.
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