WIEGO Digest

Access to Vaccination and Economic Justice
A year after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, access to vaccination for informal workers is critical to ‘softening the blow’ of a triple health-economic-care crisis. If vaccine distribution programmes don’t change, the impact of COVID-19 on informal workers’ incomes and on the wider economy could be catastrophic.
Toward a Better Deal for Informal Workers: A Paradigm Shift Post-COVID
In mid-2020, Routledge Press published, “The Informal Economy Revisited: Examining the Past, Envisioning the Future”. This volume, edited by Martha Chen and Françoise Carré, contains the reflections of three dozen renowned scholars from ten countries and several disciplines. In partnership with Ford Foundation and UNU-WIDER, WIEGO co-hosted an event to celebrate the book and call attention to the future of informal work. Watch the webinar here!
WIEGO Marks World Health Day 
In the context of COVID-19 especially, health care services must be seen as one aspect of a system of income protection and support which helps workers recover their livelihoods, not as wasteful public spending. Investing in health care is essential for economic recovery! 
What's New on the WIEGO Blog?
Building Connections During the Pandemic: The Role of Community Action Groups in Addressing Hunger and Relief

Community action groups - like those promoted by the Mahila Housing Sewa Trust in India - have been essential to ensure the efficient, effective and inclusive distribution of relief, mainly through their unique position to recognize and understand the need of the community and to connect with relevant stakeholders.

Why Brands Should Pay Compensation to Informal Garment Workers in Their Supply Chains

How are brands responding to the COVID-19 crisis? Are they respecting contractual obligations with suppliers? Learn how the pandemic has exacerbated the level of informalization in the garment workforce.

New Publications & Resources
Policy Insights No. 3 - The Triple Crisis: Impact of COVID-19 on Informal Workers’ Care Responsibilities, Paid Work and Earnings
The COVID-19 pandemic can be understood as a triple crisis. At its origin it is a public health crisis and government responses to contain the virus through lockdowns, border closures and social distancing have led to an inevitable economic crisis. Along with closing creches and schools, these measures contributed to a care crisis.
New Statistics Highlight Size of Home-Based Workforce Worldwide
Did you know that globally, 260 million women and men produce goods or provide services from in or around their homes? Our new brief, “Home-Based Workers in the World: A Statistical Profile” offers insight into where home-based workers are most prevalent, the sectors and industries in which they work, educational levels and average hours of work.
Podcast: COVID-19 Crisis, Relief Policies and Care Impact on Informal Workers
Learn how the COVID-19 crisis affected informal workers' care responsibilities and to what extent the government responses addressed their needs in terms of income and food security, throughout 2020.
Our latest City-Level Data Highlights Impact of COVID-19 on Informal Workers in Dakar & Mexico City
In Dakar, waste pickers experienced severe income losses and over one-quarter of households surveyed reported experiencing hunger. But their greatest concern remains the lack of inclusion in decisions around waste management in the city. In Mexico City, although the government announced support measures for informal workers, only 24% of workers surveyed received these cash transfers or loans. Read the full city-level analysis for these and 10 other cities, and stay tuned for the release of our global analysis!
The “Right to the City” and Emerging Indian Jurisprudence: Implications for Informal Livelihoods
This edition of Law and Informality Insights analyzes a recent Indian High Court ruling that relies on Right to the City debates and explores whether this jurisprudence could be used to advocate for informal workers’ rights.
Membership-Based Organizations Responses to COVID-19
We're relaunching our newsletter for membership-based organizations! View it here and make sure to update your preferences to get it right to your inbox.
Video of the month
TV interview on lockdown's impact on informal workers in South Africa
WIEGO's Urban Policies Research Director, Caroline Skinner, spoke with eNCA's Uveka Rangappa about the impact of COVID-19 restriction measures on informal workers in South Africa. Noting that just under 1.5 million informal workers lost their livelihoods during last year’s hard lockdown, Caroline explains that women’s job losses were greater than men’s in all types of employment.
WIEGO in the News
COVID-19: Women workers bearing the brunt
This article highlights how informal workers in Delhi, especially women, have been among the worst sufferers of the pandemic facing sudden shrink in livelihoods without any support system and how they are finding it difficult to recover even after the gradual reopening of the economy following the easing of the lockdown. By Shalini Sinha, Avi Singh Majithia and Malavika Narayan.
Promoting equitable COVID-19 recovery in the informal sector
While all informal workers reported spending more time on care responsibilities, women reported higher increases in time dedicated to cooking, cleaning, childcare, and care of elderly dependents. Read the International Development Research Centre’s article about WIEGO’s 12-city study.
With Impact of Lockdown Yet to Wear Off, Delhi Street Vendors' Travails Persist
In March 2020, when the country went into lockdown, it had a harsh and immediate effect on street vendors, as it did for many other workers in the city’s massive informal economy. A study conducted by WIEGO on the impact of COVID-19 shows that in the initial months of lockdown roughly 90% cent of vendors lost work, and even when the lockdown was lifted, recovery was slow, and it has not come back to pre-lockdown times.
COVID-19 mitigation measures have neglected informal traders, say women’s organisations
WIEGO and UN Women have put together an initiative called Coping in Crisis: Informal Workers’ Lives and Livelihoods during COVID-19. It aims to show the gendered impact the pandemic has had on women, particularly those in the informal trading sector.
News from the WIEGO Network
Promoting Decent Work For Women Home-Based Workers In Value Chains
HomeNet South Asia launched a new study where they documented details of earnings, work patterns and employment opportunities for home-based women workers in India and Nepal linked to global or domestic brands in the garment sector.
Past Events
The 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women took place during March 2021. WIEGO and the Global Networks representing workers in the informal economy raised their voices during the conference parallel events. Access video recordings from these and other online events below:
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