| || || Narayan, Kamni|
| || || Urban women participation and livelihoods in the informal sector in Fiji : a case study of Suva-Lami area |
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Call No.: pac In Process
Copyright:10-20% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission
Abstract: As in many developing countries, Fiji’s economic participation, particularly female participation in development has remained low. However, with increasing urbanisation and associated rural–urban migration, and growing educational awakening, women’s participation is on the rise especially in the informal sector of the economy. This sector plays a vital role in absorbing the rural–urban migrants, and aids in generating income and sustaining their livelihoods. The informal sector, commonly characterised by poor working conditions, and long working hours, accommodates a large number of women (and children), who rely on this sector as their primary source of income. However, their participation and livelihoods derived from the informal sector in Fiji and the overall impacts are less understood and documented. Hence to bridge this information gap, this study has been undertaken. The aim of this study was to examine women’s participation and livelihoods in the informal sector particularly in the Suva–Lami area in Fiji. In addition to examining informal sector participants’ household and socio-economic characteristics, this study also identifies the impediments to informal sector activity and puts forward policy recommendations for the promotion of the sector. In doing so, this study utilizes a research methodology which is primarily qualitative; however, a ‘triangulation’ approach is employed in the study. The results of the study re-establishes the fact that the informal sector remains a vital source of income for a large number of poor families in Fiji, with about 66 per cent of participants relying on this sector as a primary source of income and household security. It also brings out the issue of child labour, in particular, girl child participation in the informal sector as well as shedding light on the increasing prominence of the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) role in the informal sector, whereby a large number of women participate in the informal sector activity via social networking sites. In addition, impediments to female informal sector participation such as access to financial credit, increasing competition and cost of raw materials, adverse weather conditions and low vocational skills were also noted. The research concludes with a discussion of ways to strengthen female participation in the informal sector including promotion and strengthening of vocational training and microfinance credit programs and formulation and adoption of pro-poor growth strategies and policies aiming at empowerment of women.