Paper prepared for UNRISD Gender Policy Report.
This article starts by examining women workers' organisations in a historical perspective, looking at the emergence of women's unions in different geographic contexts since the late 19th century. It then moves on to analyse the significance of organisations focusing on women workers, and relates this to the current context of the informal economy. It focuses on three trade unions that organise informal women as case studies, the Self-Employed Women's Association in India; The Korea Women's Trade Union in South Korea; and the Self-Employed Women's Union in South Africa. The article also introduces more briefly different kinds of associations and unions that organise women workers across the globe.