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Women in the Informal Sector and Poverty Reduction in Morocco

The City of Fez as a Case Study


Souad Belhorma

It is established that the informal sector plays an important role in the creation of job opportunities for many rural and urban people. However, there is a scarcity of academic research on the relationship between gender, informality of employment and poverty reduction in Morocco with particular reference to the city of Fez. This book focuses on investigating the contribution of women’s self-employed work in the informal sector in reducing household poverty in the city of Fez. This is done through the medium of specific framework objectives. First, the book sets out the types of women engaged in informal sector activities in the city of Fez. Secondly, it makes a situational analysis of the contribution of women’s work in the informal sector to reduce poverty in their households in this region of Morocco. Thirdly, it identifies the linkages between working as self-employed persons and emancipation of women through their participation in political and social activism in Fez and lastly, it uncovers the main difficulties impeding the development of women in self-employed activities in the informal sector and identifies the various challenges for the development of their businesses in Fez.

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Chapter 1 Theoretical and Conceptual Framework


Chapter 1

Theoretical and Conceptual Framework


The purpose of the present chapter is to provide an overview of the main studies carried out on the correlation between the informal sector, poverty and gender issues. The first section addresses the emergence, the characteristics, and the development of the informal sector in both the Western and the Moroccan contexts. The second section reviews the concepts of poverty and the informal sector from economic and social perspectives with a purpose to provide an alternative to gender approach.

Informal Sector in Western and Moroccan Contexts

It is of paramount significance for the purposes of the present research to consider how various studies approach the concept of the informal sector in order to emphasize that the informal employment is only one form of job creation. The dispute over whether the informal sector is considered as a creator of income opportunities for women or stall economic growth is rife with debates in the informal sector literature, which gives birth to a diversity of perspectives from which four have been selected to be reviewed in this work. The present debate will focus on the following: the dualist, the structuralist, the legalist and the feminist views respectively.

To start with, the dualist theorists consider the urban informal sector of the economy as a transitory phenomenon during the economic crisis that will disappear with the development of the economy. In this respect, the dualist theory has...

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