Not only have all governments agreed to deliver full employment by 2030, but they have also committed to fast-tracking progress for the poorest and most marginalised.
The demographic bulge, a new understanding of the real rate of unemployment, and the scale of informality makes this already Herculean task more challenging still. According to standard definitions more than 212 million people will be unemployed by 2019. Yet ODI research (2017, forthcoming) has shown that the number of people seeking jobs – two-thirds of whom are women – may actually be ten times that. And most poor people work in the informal sector. Informal is the new normal. Across 60 developing countries the median share of informal work is over half, and in seven: Benin, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Nepal, India, Cameroon and Mali, it exceeds 80% (ODI, 2017 forthcoming).
Economic transformation will be part of the answer but it is highly likely, at least for the foreseeable future, that the number of jobs needed will outstrip the capacity of formal labour markets to supply them.
Drawing on new ODI research, this event convenes a high-level panel to discuss what policy solutions can help female informal workers who face being left behind. Specifically, the panel explores:
Is formalisation the only answer?
What policies should governments and international policy-makers implement now to ensure no informal worker is left behind?
How can jobs at the bottom of the informal labour market better protect and empower women?