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Theme: Informal Economy
Occupational Group(s): Home-Based Workers
By Zofeen, Ebrahim.

Zehra Khan has much to celebrate on International Women’s Day. It is exactly four months since members of the Home-Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF) in Sindh province, Pakistan – of which Khan is secretary general – finally received legal recognition.The province’s chief minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, signed a policy that means the region’s estimated 5 million home-based workers – the majority of whom are women – can register as workers and access benefits.

“It was an important day not only for the history of the labour movement in Sindh and Pakistan, but also for south Asia,” says Khan, whose federation has more than 4,500 members. “Once they are legally accepted as workers, they can be registered with the government-run social security institution, [and] be part of [the] workers’ welfare board to enjoy benefits like health, education and housing, as well as those offered after retirement,” she adds.
Almost 80% of an estimated 12 million Pakistani home-based workers are women. As well as unpaid domestic work, the women often spend up to 10 hours a day making garments, footwear, sports goods, and arts and crafts behind closed doors. Their work is often invisible to the rest of the world, despite having propped up the country’s informal economy for so long.

Kenya How MCU is helping in 'building a future with decent work' Investment News . (21 February 2017)

Elizabeth Nzilani Peter represented the Machakos Cooperative Union at the 105th International Labour Conference in Geneva, where the theme was Building a Future with Decent Work. Attended by Over 6,000 delegates, the conference was an opportunity to highlight the contribution made by co-operatives to decent work. The following is an interview with Elizabeth.

Pakistan Sales and craft exhibition of home-based workers kicks off Pakistan Today . (7 February 2017)

The products ranging from handmade pottery items to embroidered cloths of Haripur, wooden items from Chiniot, jewellery and accessories, decorative items prepared by the home-based workers were displayed at the exhibition.

Pakistan Certification course for home-based workers launched at IBA The News . (27 January 2017)

The programme will mark the beginning of a certificate programme designed especially for home-based women workers in Karachi and Quetta. “This program is an IBA AMAN CED’s humble effort towards facilitating Pakistani women to develop and foster an entrepreneurial mindset, enabling them to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities.”

India The Kutch Renaissance. Live Mint . (20 January 2017)

It's been 16 years since the Bhuj earthquake wiped out lives, livelihoods and villages. A journey through the region now reveals how it has found new life through crafts, and how tradition has become its route to modernity.

Pakistan Sindh approves policy to regularise home-based workers. The News . (17 January 2017)

Bill soon to be drafted and tabled in the assembly would legally secure five million workers, mostly women. Labour organisations’ decades-long arduous struggle finally seems to have borne fruit as the Sindh government has approved a policy for official recognition of the country's around five million women home-based workers as formal labour entitled to all legal benefits.

Philippines Gov't to return 40% of new taxes to the poor. Malaya . (1 January 2017)
By Celis, Angela.

"Under these twin initiatives, the pass-through cost from the fuel tax increase is expected to be at most 50 centavos per trip. It can even be zero impact if we do the mitigating measures well.

Indonesia Informal workers can enjoy low housing down payments in 2017. The Jakarta Post . (31 December 2016)

The Public Works and Public Housing Ministry said on Friday that it will create a new policy next year that allows informal workers to obtain housing mortgages with low down payments.

By Tandon, Suneera.

India’s female labour force participation rate is just 27%, one of the lowest in the world. The dismal number is the result of persistent gender inequality, as well as a lack of technical skills and jobs for women. And that’s why, 83-year-old Ela Bhatt has dedicated her life to fighting for change.

Pakistan Social security for home-based women workers demanded. Dawn . (25 December 2016)
By Baloch, Saher.

Home-based women workers from different parts of the city have demanded that they be included in the social security net after the chief minister finally approved a policy on recognising their rights.