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Informality and Gender in Dakar, Senegal

Presenters Name: 
Jordan Beeker
Co Presenters Name: 
Primary Research Mentor: 
Jeanine Braithwaite
Secondary Research Mentor: 
11:00 - 12:15
Time of Presentation: 
2019 - 11:00am to 12:15pm
Newcomb Hall Ballroom
Presentation Type: 
Presentations Academic Category: 
Social Science
Grant Program Recipient: 
Harrison Undergraduate Research Grant

This study investigates the high concentration of female workers in Senegal’s informal economy. Women in the informal sector generally do not receive social or legal protections, often face poor working conditions, and receive relatively low wages. As a result, these individuals are at greater risk of suffering from health issues, discrimination, and violence at work, as well as poverty. Yet, few labor force surveys emphasize female narratives or experiences that may provide deeper insight into this high concentration of informal female workers. Through surveying approximately 122 female workers in urban and peri-urban areas of Dakar, Senegal, this study uncovers female narratives in the informal sector that concern sentiments towards work, harassment, and working conditions. It ultimately finds that optimism and general satisfaction towards work, income, and other factors are prevalent among women in Senegal’s informal sector. Despite this, issues related to municipalities and lack of financement were identified as problems faced by working women, serving as possible targets for labor policy action in the future.