Women in Business and the Informal Economy: The Untold Backbone of Global Prosperity

In the bustling markets, hidden workshops, and vibrant street corners across the world, women are at the heart of the informal economy. These women are entrepreneurs, labourers, and business owners, often working in challenging conditions but with remarkable tenacity and creativity. At the Informal Economy Development Forum (IEDF), we recognize the invaluable role these women play in supporting local and global economies, and we are dedicated to providing them with the tools and resources they need to thrive.


The Power and Potential of Women in the Informal Economy

The informal economy encompasses a wide range of economic activities that are not regulated by formal structures. This includes small-scale businesses, street vendors, home-based workers, and more. Despite the lack of formal recognition and support, the informal economy is a significant driver of economic activity, and women play a crucial role in its success.


Women in the informal economy often face unique challenges, such as limited access to education, healthcare, and financial services. Yet, they persevere, demonstrating a level of resilience and innovation that drives their communities forward. They create jobs, support families, and contribute to the economic stability of their regions.


Empowering Women with the Right Tools

At IEDF, our mission is to empower women in the informal economy by providing them with the tools they need to achieve more. This includes access to business development training, financial literacy programs, mentorship, and networking opportunities. By offering these resources, we aim to bridge the gap between the informal and formal economies, enabling women to grow their businesses and improve their livelihoods.


“We believe that when women in the informal economy are given the right tools, they become powerful agents of change,” says Suzan Ntebo Mthembu, IEDF Women’s League Chairperson. “Our goal is to ensure that their voices are heard and their contributions are recognised.”

Advocating for Change on a Global Platform

In addition to providing direct support to women in the informal economy, IEDF also advocates for broader policy changes to create a more inclusive business environment. This includes promoting gender equality, encouraging the formalisation of informal businesses, and ensuring access to social protections for women workers.


“I speak on behalf of women in the informal economy on a global platform because their stories deserve to be told,” Suzan Ntebo Mthembu adds. “By raising awareness and advocating for change, we can help create a world where women in the informal economy are not only heard but celebrated.”


A Vision for the Future

The journey towards a more inclusive and equitable economy is a collective effort. At IEDF, we invite businesses, governments, and other stakeholders to join us in supporting women in the informal economy. By working together, we can unlock the full potential of these remarkable women and create a brighter future for all.


For more information about our programs and how you can get involved, please visit our website at www.iedf.org.za or contact us at 087 094 8584. Together, let’s empower women in the informal economy and celebrate their extraordinary contributions to the world of business and beyond.