Empowering Women in Nepal’s Informal Employment Sector: Celebrating 11th International Domestic Workers Day

In context of Nepal, women in informal employment sector are mostly involved in domestic work, entertainment sector and sex work and majority are unpaid. (Nepal Jobs Diagnostic, 2020). Women make up 37.2% of the employed labor force in Nepal, but only 33.5% of employed women are engaged in formal sector with 66.5% working in informal sector. In the same way, a study suggests that, women in the formal sector represent less than 3.5% of employment (FWLD, 2006, 2014 and NFLS, 2008). This suggests that a major portion of women are in the informal sector of the economy. Informal economy is characterized by irregular employment, uncertain wage rates, low income, long and uncertain working hours, no written contract and non-existent or poor legal protection; this exposes women to several forms of labor exploitation. Through this, it can also be acknowledged that, to which extent, women and their work is not viewed seriously and by making the policies and regulations to formalize, these sectors will contribute to enhance the country’s economic stability too.

On the occasion of 11th International domestic workers day, Tarangini Foundation had organized an interactive program titled ‘My work my identity’ where the domestic workers and entertainment sector workers had participated. The workers from two different groups were included because we believe that although the day is celebrated for domestic workers, the right demand of all informal sector workers is actually same and their issues are same; there is no any identity, respect and recognition of their work. On the same day, the launch of book called ‘Mahuri’ was also done. The book consists of the case stories and struggle of domestic workers and entertainment sector workers. The program allowed us to realize that although the work in the informal sectors might be different, their issues and challenges are quite parallel to each other. The workers also realized that it is important to raise voice for own right for transformation from community level to policy level. Tarangini believes that change is possible and it will happen if worked together with the feeling of solidarity, respect and mutual understanding.