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Women in the informal economy: the harsh experiences of survival in ouagadougou

Author: 
Honorine Pegdwendé SAWADOGO
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

The objective of this contribution is to update the debate on the informal economy by highlighting the important investment of women in this sector. Context: Urbanisation in Burkina Faso has not been accompanied by the development of the employment sector to meet the needs of urban dwellers. In order to cope with the imperatives of urban life, many urban dwellers have been forced to develop initiatives outside the norms of the formal economy. Among the actors investing in the informal economy, there are more women due to their low level of education and lack of training. Method: Based on a survey using a qualitative approach, interviews were conducted with 29 women entrepreneurs in the informal economy. The study reveals that women entrepreneurs are generally between 25 and 51 years old, often have a low level of education and the activities they carry out are small in scale. Eleven of them are heads of households, four of whom are widows. Two thirds of them have a very low level of education, limited to primary school without the primary school certificate. Results: The data significantly illustrate the place they occupy in this sector, in various activities. The survey also reveals the contribution of women's incomes to the survival of many urban households. It also revealed that the informal sector, beyond the traps it contains, is appreciated by some women because of its openness and above all its flexibility, which allows them to articulate their professional constraints with their domestic tasks and social obligations.

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