In an article in The Conversation, WIEGO's Mike Rogan and Caroline Skinner argue that job losses show that support for women informal workers is urgent. In South Africa, recent data suggest that under strict lockdown in April, two-thirds of the 3 million people who lost their jobs were women.
Income losses of this magnitude are a particular cause for alarm given the links between the loss of informal sources of income and the risk of dramatic increases in extreme poverty, hunger and food insecurity. Just under half of informal workers reported that their household had lost its main source of income since lockdown began. Over half reported that their household ran out of food during April.
As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds in South Africa, the country's policy response should have the overall aim of helping informal workers avoid the Hobson’s choice between earning a living and keeping themselves safe.
• WIEGO has updated its health guideline resources for informal traders in South Africa. The guidelines, in five languages and in poster and WhatsApp formats, offer COVID-19 health, rights and financial support information to workers in markets, streets and home shops. They were developed by WIEGO in consultation with experts in public health and the informal economy.