Women Workers in the Informal Economy and the Function and Future of Labour Law

Author: Elmarie Fourie

ISSN: 1996-2193
Affiliations: BProc LLM LLD, Senior lecturer, University of Johannesburg
Source: Stellenbosch Law Review, Volume 31 Issue 3, 2020, p. 398 – 423


The bigger the informal economy becomes, the greater the need for social and labour protection for vulnerable workers and the more the inadequacy of existing labour and social protection measures is highlighted. This contribution considers the function and future of labour law in respect of the proliferating informal economy, and specifically in respect of vulnerable women workers. The aim is to also consider specific theories and perspectives concerning women workers in the informal economy by recognising their unique vulnerabilities. The purpose of this analysis is to find innovative solutions to extend protection to these vulnerable workers. The contribution then critically considers Sen’s capability approach and the further development of this approach to find sustainable solutions. The concept of a sustainable approach is also evaluated, with reference to decent work and human rights, including human dignity, within a social justice framework.