Gendered Impact of Covid-19: A Policy Analysis on the Women Workers in the Urban Informal Economy in Uganda
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In Uganda, the informal sector is important to the local economy it contributes more than 50 percent to the GDP annually. It is also the sector in which the majority of the labour force earns a living, largely in jobs that are not agricultural. Uganda’s informal sector accounts for more than 13.67 million, or 98 percent, of the working age labour force. In 2017, the ILO estimated total informal employment to be 85 percent of total non-agricultural employment, with women comprising 87 percent and men 84 percent of non-agricultural employment. However, people working in Uganda’s informal sector face numerous challenges, they have no registered interests or assets and are automatically excluded from the government mitigation programs for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as well as from social safety nets and protections accorded to employees by formal labour contracts. The COVID 19 pandemic and policy measures implemented resulted into an economic slowdown, the resultant increase in unemployment exacerbated the poverty levels, majority of informal women workers lost their source of livelihoods, thus increasing the already existing gender inequalities and vulnerability to genderbased violence. International Center for Research on Women, (ICRW) leads REBUILD, a project that aims to understand how Uganda’s social and economic policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic affected women who work in the country’s informal economy. ICRW undertook a policy analysis of the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on women workers in Uganda’s informal economies. This report presents summary findings and recommendations from our study, we conducted an analytical review of policies, institutional reports, as well as a literature scan of journal papers, policy reports, newspaper articles, and institutional reports published between March 2020 and April 2021. What follows is a summary of our findings and recommendations.