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Markets, Power and Production

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1 Markets, Power and Production
Jenna Iodice Economics 661 27 April 2009 Markets, Power and Production Malian Women in the Informal Sector

2 A Picture of Mali Population: 13.92 million people (2008)
GNP per capita: $440 (2007) Economic growth rate: average of 5.1% ( ) Ranked 168 out of 179 on UNDP’s Human Development Index (2008) Adult literacy rate: 15.6% (women), 31.1% (men) Total fertility rate: 6.7% (2005) Sources: World Bank; UNDP; UNESCO

3 The Informal Sector What is it? How big is it in Africa?
The International Labor Organization considers the informal sector to include “all remunerative work – both self-employment and wage employment – that is not recognized, regulated or protected by existing legal or regulatory frameworks and non- remunerative work undertaken in an income-producing enterprise.” (ILO, Women and Men in the Informal Economy, 2002) Worker constraints: not protected by labor laws, tend to earn less money than formal counterparts, lack healthcare and other worker benefits, may work under irregular contracts Women face specific constraints, for example: lack of access to capital, lack of access to markets and possible competition from men pushed out of the formal sector by economic recession. How big is it in Africa? As a percentage share of: Non-agricultural employment: 78% Urban employment: 61% New jobs: 93% Sources: ILO, Women and Men in the Informal Economy, 2002; Chen Women in the Informal Sector: A Global Picture, the Global Movement, 2001.

4 The Informal Sector in Mali
Share of Non-agricultural Workforce in informal Sector and Women’s Share of Informal Sector Percentage of Non-Agricultural Labor Force in Informal Sector Women’s Share of Informal Sector in the Non-Agricultural Labor Force Women Men 91 96 59 Size and Contribution of Informal Sector in Trade and Women Traders in Informal Trade Informal Sector as a Share of: Women Traders as Share of: Total Trade Employment Total Trade GDP Total Informal Trade Employment Total Informal Trade GDP 98.1 56.7 81.3 46.1 Women are predominant in the informal sector, are a majority of total informal trade employment, and contribute a significant portion of total informal trade GDP. How well does this translate into helping women out of poverty, however?

5 Gender and Social Power
What are gender roles/relations in Mali, particularly as they pertain to the market/production? “M’ba” versus “M’se” Burden of domestic responsibilities in addition to income-producing responsibilities Women have different access to markets at different stages of life (women in child- bearing years versus post-menopausal women) Women of child-bearing years may have responsibilities to their husband’s family and to their children. Later in life, women have more control over their labor-time. Factors affecting market strategies of women therefore are a function of relationships in their household, social and material resources, health and energy. Demographic statistics have implications for gender equity in Mali. For example, high fertility rates mean women spent more effort on child-rearing and household responsibilities than they otherwise might. Lower literacy rates mean that access to income is further impeded. Sources: Chen, Women in the Informal Sector, 2001; Turrittin, Men, Women and Market Trade, 1988. Different responses to greetings jokingly indicated as embodying gender norms among the Bambara. For example, the greeting good morning, “I ni sogoma”, requires different responses from men and women. Men say “m’ba” and women say “m’se”. “M’se” literally translates as “I can” – it is seen as an affirmation, as women face each day’s responsibilities, both in the fields and/or market and in the household, while “m’ba” literally translates as “my mother”, indicating the difference in perceptions of division of labor.

6 Women in the Informal Sector
Men and women involved in different activities or types of employment even within the same trades For example, men tend to have larger scale operations and can deal in non-food products, such as manufactured goods, while women tend to have smaller scale operations and deal largely in food products. Men may dominate the more lucrative activities, resulting in increased ability to reinvest in their businesses. For example, men typically control income from the sale of cotton, one of Mali’s significant cash crops. Earning a wage does not necessarily empower women, however Income from informal sector work does not necessarily imply control over its use. May find that once additional income is earned, husbands contribute less to the family May have large start-up and/or transportation costs Introduction of additional risks, often without access to risk-reducing institutions like business clubs or trade associations that are male-dominated. Source: Chen, Women in the Informal Sector: A Global Picture, the Global Movement, 2001

7 Toward gender equity in the marketplace
How are women being supported/supporting themselves? Women’s associations Microcredit associations Skills-based trainings Coordination des Associations et ONG Féminines au Mali (CAFO) More than 2000 member associations Coordinates activities Advocates for the interests of women at a local and national level Increasing their access to capital Increasing their access to primary education – need to increase their access to secondary education, as well. Increasing their access to trainings, etc. Women’s groups and associations give women greater bargaining power CAFO (Coordination des Associations et ONG Feminines au Mali) Women’s Associations (top photo) CAFO (Bottom photo) Entrepreneurship trainings, etc. Gains in primary education enrollment Source: MHOP Website

8 Next steps/Recommendations
The literature highlights the importance of women acting in groups in order to achieve transformations in gender relations Importance of organizations like CAFO in advocating for the interests of women on a political level Increased representation of women in local and national government Creation of policies that specifically support women in the informal sector For example, support for daycare centers or preschools to ease the childcare burden on women By raising social standards for women, their economic situations will improve, for example: Access to family planning services for women (reduce their child-bearing burden) Equity in primary and secondary education for women Access to credit and markets Problems delineated in FAO paper: What happens when women start making money and men stop providing money for household items, forcing women to use their earned income to cover the expenses? Source: FAO

9 Photo: Women’s Association in Dogon country

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