Provide a roadmap to govern the informal sector, government urged

Accra- Mr Sumaila Abdul-Rahman, Country Director of ActionAid Ghana, has called on government to develop a roadmap to govern the informal sector to address the challenges of gender-based violence.

The sector, which is estimated to be about 80.1 per cent of all employment in the country, has been left unregulated and its formalization would ensure a decent workplace for those in the sector, he said.

Mr Abdul-Rahman speaking at a national forum on 16-days of activism against sexual and economic exploitation of Young Urban Women at the informal workspace, said the roadmap should not end with the promulgating of a law but must ensure that it is strictly followed.

The occasion is observed every year from November 25, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women to December 10, the Human Rights Day.

Mr Abdul-Rahman said leaders and enforcement agencies only take cursory looks at women’s sexual and economic exploitation issues when highlighted by the media without initiating any action.

In spite of these challenges, our campaign has achieved some successes in-terms of awareness creation and policy recommendations required to effect the necessary changes, but violence against women persists. Women have had to push beyond their limits to claim their basic rights, he said.

Mr Abdul-Rahman said although more women workers in the informal sector, face sexual harassment and other forms of exploitation, the issues were conveniently left out in policy discussions, social commentary and media scrutiny.

Most regrettably, human rights defenders and labour groups have not given a lot of space for interventions and campaigns on rights of violations in the informal economy. This is what makes today’s discussion imperative.

Our mothers and sisters in the informal sector are invaluable resources who provide critical services to make our lives easy and meaningful. They are the smallholder farmers, dressmakers, caterers, hairdressers, market women street hawkers, chop bar operators, and the kayayee, he said.

Mr Eric Amoadu-Boateng, Acting Head Organising Department of Trade Union Congress (TUC), said earlier this year, government announced that people working in domestic establishments in the country would soon be recognized as formal workers.

He said this new regulation is expected to come into force as soon as Parliament considers a bill to regularize the work of domestic workers.

Mr Amoadu-Boateng said the draft policy has been validated and was yet to be tested.

He said issues about the informal sector are one of its priority areas adding that the TUC would strive to ensure decent work occurs at the various workplaces.

Source: Ghana News Agency