UN HLP Consultation: Women's Voices from the Informal Economy at SEWA

The consultation “Women's Voices from the Informal Economy” brought together members of the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) from across India to share their diverse experiences as workers in the informal economy with members of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel (HLP) for Women’s Economic Empowerment and other distinguished guests. The consultation took place at SEWA headquarters in Ahmedabad, Gujarat state, India. It was jointly hosted by UN Women India and SEWA and forms part of a global consultative process being carried out by the UN HLP.

UN Women Press Release: UN High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment Hears from Women in the Informal Economy in India

As empowered economic agents—including childcare providers, clients of a collectively-owned women’s bank, street vendors involved in legal advocacy efforts and entrepreneurs managing their own enterprises—SEWA members spoke to the distinct focus areas of the HLP. These focus areas include: child care, financial and digital inclusion, women-owned enterprises, pay and working conditions and legal barriers. The consultation participants visited these women in their homes, workplaces and various SEWA projects including: SEWA Academy, SEWA Bank, SEWA Trade Facilitation Center and others. In addition to field visits, events included an inaugural session on the first day - which consisted of a press conference, key note speeches and a series of technical sessions - and an analysis session on the last day to close. Participants agreed the richness of the lessons learned from this consultation came from the sharing of the women’s lived experiences as workers who have struggled, organized and innovated in the pursuit of their own economic empowerment.  

Read about the consultation:

Full consultation report

Follow this and other HLP-related events using the hashtags #HLP and #WomensEconomicEmpowerment.


Renana Jhabvala presents at the consultation's inaugural session on the importance of exercising collective voice across scales:



Ela Bhatt delivers closing address:

View the transcript of Ela Bhatt's closing remarks.

Learn more about WIEGO and SEWA's ongoing participation in the SGHLP process.