Law and the Informal Economy

Street vendor in Ahmedabad, India selling vegetables

Law can be an effective tool for improving the lives of informal women workers. This one-year project will help empower informal workers, especially women, to access their legal rights, to defend themselves against punitive legal practices, and to demand fair laws and their effective implementation.

The project cuts across all other elements of WIEGO’s Securing Economic Rights project. It challenges current notions of law that favour formal enterprises/workers over informal enterprises/workers, and men over women.

The WIEGO Network brings together informal workers from around the world to draft a Platform on transitioning from the informal economy to the formal economy and prepares to participate in the ILC 2014. Learn more.

Materials and training resources will be developed to enhance informal workers’ understanding of their rights as workers and citizens. A database and case studies will expand knowledge about the legal realities that informal workers face. Technical and capacity-building support will be given to 12 membership-based organizations (MBOs). Interventions seek to ensure informal economy workers are increasingly included in policymaking and legal reform processes.

The legal community and other mainstream observers will also gain a better understanding of the reality of informal work and the need to reform laws and practices to protect and support the working poor – and the need to involve informal workers in the legal reform process.

The project also seeks to develop confident and effective women leaders. 

More detail can be found at WIEGO's Law & Informality section.

Project Objectives

  • to increase visibility, voice, and recognition of women informal workers so that they can effectively negotiate and influence policies and laws at local, national and international forums relevant to their work and lives
  • to support for the conceptualization and evolution of new jurisprudence and legal frameworks on law and informality, incorporating practical experiences and demands of informal workers in diverse jurisdictions
  • to offer an Exposure-Dialogue experience that can change mindsets by informing, educating and influencing practitioners within the legal community, so that they can support the proposed agenda of informal workers
  • to enhance capacity for budget analysis and negotiations of MBOs of street and market vendors as well as local government officials from relevant municipal government departments
  • to develop a monitoring system to track and increase visibility of the informal economy and the situation of those working in it
  • project outputs are designed to reinforce each other by integrating practical experiences and lessons learned.

Countries of Activities

Colombia, Ghana, India, Peru, South Africa, Thailand


Through capacity-building activities, case studies and training resources, project partners and women leaders will gain increased understanding of:

  • how laws/regulations/policies at local, state and national levels of government affect their livelihoods
  • how local, state and national governments gain revenue and contribute expenditure from/to their particular sector
  • what skills are needed and what approaches are most effective when engaging with government, both in relation to laws/regulations/policies and revenue/expenditure