|dc.description.abstract||In urban Africa, informal employment constitutes 90 per cent
of all new jobs. Informal work is characterised by being
unrecognised, unprotected or unrecorded by the public
authorities, and a larger percentage of women than men earn
their living in the informal economy.
This study looks into the gender relations of the
informal economy of Kampala. A combination of internal war
and unrest, economic crisis, the AIDS epidemic, economic
restructuring, and government policies enhancing women, have
changed gender relations in Uganda over the last decades.
Urban men were once expected to provide for their families,
but today married women bring in 50-70 per cent of household
While some men feel threatened by women’s
economic independence, others realise that female
entrepreneurship is needed in the present economic realities.
Many women complain that since they started working, the
men have stopped contributing to household expenses.
The bulk of women are engaged in sectors
traditionally defined as female, but some venture into male
arenas where profits are generally higher. Similarly, men with
limited capital have started going into ‘female’ domains (such
as catering and hair styling), changing the landscape of the
urban informal economy.
Informants interviewed for this study cited lack of
capital as a major obstacle. Almost one in two started their
enterprise with less than US$ 55, and more than one third claim
to make less than US$ 57 a month. Some female respondents
had benefited from micro finance loans, but the majority were
deeply sceptical of micro finance institutions.
While increased formalisation would enhance both the
national economy as a whole and enhance worker’s security, an
unfair and random tax system functions as an incentive for the
self-employed to stay informal and avoid expansion.||