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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 5 Women’s Self-employment and Emancipation


Chapter 5

Women’s Self-employment and Emancipation


In most developing countries, women are viewed among the vulnerable segments of society. Having reviewed their economic participation in the previous chapters, the present one tackles the political and social dimensions of self-employed women emancipation. Indeed, participation in political life and community-based activism as well as cooperatives can be used as breeding grounds for their empowerment1 by enhancing their specific knowledge and capacities. In this respect, ‘promoting women’s empowerment is essential because in most cases women are responsible for their children and for their family, thus empowering women is empowering the society in large’ (World Bank: 2001). The aim of this chapter is to develop a framework to serve as an instrument for establishing the extent to which women participate in other activities without economic features. It is divided into two general sections. The first one develops an understanding of women’s participation in politics and community based activism. The focus of this section is to provide justification about the participation of self-employed women in the political sphere, their involvement in cooperatives as well as their associative activism. The second section examines the link between women’s shadow work and the private sphere responsibilities. It establishes a discussion about their participation in domestic labor, which is followed by analysis of data concerning perception of housework. The chapter closes up with a discussion of women’s reconciliation between productive and reproductive responsibilities.←223 | 224→

Women’s Political and Community-Based Activism...

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