Conceptual Framework for Social Protection for Informal Workers

A conceptual framework, developed in WIEGO’s early years, posed the core question that continues to drive the Social Protection Programme:

“Under what circumstances can which kind of workers in the informal economy (especially poorer working women) secure access to what core measures of provision, which can be incrementally improved upon in the future?”

Core elements of this framework:

  • It sees social protection as an inalienable part of work.
  • It focuses on women, but not to the exclusion of men.
  • It differentiates between workers based on status in employment, showing a continuum from more informal to formal workers.
  • It keeps open a role in social protection for all interest groups.
  • It advocates principles of equity and redistribution.

The framework paper was presented at the WIEGO – ILO STEP joint workshop “Social Protection for Women in the Informal Sector” in December 1999.

The paper was extended and developed into a book titled Learning from Experience: A Gendered Approach to Social Protection for Workers in the Informal Economy (Lund and Srinivas 2000).