UNIFEM’s Progress of the World’s Women 2005: Women, Work & Poverty

UNIFEM (now called UN Women) asked WIEGO to write the 2005 issue of Progress of the World’s Women – UNIFEM’s biennial flagship publication– on the topic of “Women, Work, and Poverty.” Officially launched at the United Nations on September 16, 2005 to coincide with the Millennium Development Summit, the publication focuses on employment, especially informal employment, as a key pathway to reducing poverty and gender inequality.

It begins by looking at the totality of women’s work, the linkages among the different types of women's work (paid and unpaid, formal and informal), and how these linkages tend to situate women in the more insecure forms of informal employment. It then provides the latest data on the size and composition of the informal economy in different regions and compares official national data on average earnings and poverty risk across different segments of both the informal and formal workers in several countries. It also looks at the costs and benefits of informal work and provides a strategic framework, with promising examples, for organizing informal workers and promoting decent work for informal workers, especially women.

The publication involved inter-agency collaboration, with financial and technical support to UNIFEM from both UNDP and ILO. It also involved active collaboration between the WIEGO team of authors, a panel of external advisors, and the UNIFEM editorial and publication team. And it involved significant collaboration within the WIEGO network. The authors were:

  • Marty Chen, International Coordinator of WIEGO
  • Joann Vanek, Director, WIEGO Statistics Programme
  • Francie Lund, Director, WIEGO Social Protection Programme
  • James Heintz, Assistant Research Professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and (then) WIEGO Research Coordinator
  • Renana Jhabvala, National Coordinator of SEWA and Member of WIEGO Steering Committee
  • Chris Bonner, Director, WIEGO Organization and Representation Programme

The Advisory Team included:

  • Debbie Budlender, Community Agency for Social Enquiry, Cape Town, South Africa
  • Diane Elson, University of Essex, UK and The Levy Institute of Bard College, USA
  • Guadalupe Espinosa, Institute of Social Development, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Noeleen Heyzer, UNIFEM, New York, USA
  • Selim Jahan, UNDP, New York, USA
  • Francesca Perucci, UN Statistics Division, New York, USA
  • Anne Trebilcock, ILO, Geneva, Switzerland

For the statistical chapter, the authors commissioned new analysis of national data in seven countries to look more closely at the segmentation of the labour force, both formal and informal, by employment status and sex, and at average earnings and risk of poverty for each segment by sex.
James Heintz served as the Technical Advisor to the data analysis team, in consultation with Joann Vanek and Marty Chen, and carried out the data analysis for Ghana. The other members of the Data Analysis Team included:

  • Canada: Sylvia Fuller and Leah F. Vosko, York University, Toronto
  • Costa Rica: Jesper Venema, ILO Regional Office, Panama City
  • Egypt: Mona Amer, University of Cairo and Alia El-Mahdi, University of Cairo, Cairo
  • El Salvador: Edgar Lara Lopez and Reinaldo Chanchan, FUNDE (Fundacion Nacional para el Desarrollo), San Salvado with Sarah Gammage, newly-appointed Research Coordinator of WIEGO’s Global Markets Programme
  • India: Jeemol Unni, ILO consultant, National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector, New Delhi
  • South Africa: Daniela Casale, Colette Muller and Dorrit Posel, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban

Other members of the WIEGO team who assisted with the publication include: Marais Canali, who compiled references, wrote some of the good practice cases, and assisted the authors throughout; Shalini Sinha who worked closely with Renana Jhabvala and Chris Bonner in the writing of Chapter 5 on organizing; Anna Marriott, Cally Ardington, and Kudzai Makomva who carried out background research; Suzanne Van Hook who managed the contracts for the authors and the data analysts.

Others in the WIEGO network who were consulted on the occupational cases featured in Chapter 4 and the good practice cases featured in Chapters 5 and 6 include: Kofi Asamoah, Stephanie Barrientos, Ela Bhatt, Mirai Chatterjee, Dan Gallin, Pat Horn, Elaine Jones, Paula Kantor, Martin Medina, Winnie Mitullah, Carlos Mireles Morales, Pun Ngai, Fred Pieterson, Jennefer Sebstad, and Lynda Yanz.

Read The Progress of the World’s Women 2005 -  Full Reprt or an Overview