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This research aim to study the participation of women in the informal economic activities and the extent of their contribution to household budget in Kaduna North L.G.A. of Kaduna State. The research used descriptive and statistical methods to analyze socio demographic data, major informal activities practiced, reasons for engaging in them, average income and percentage of it contributed to household income, effects of the activities on livelihood of respondents and challenges they faced, which are obtained through questionnaires. The results shows a high participation rate of women in the study area who engage in informal work. Such as buying and selling, rendering house services, laundry services, petty trading, grinding and plaiting with just 1.3% of the respondents engaging in handcrafts. The pressure by household needs necessitate effective contribution to financial expenses of their family as revealed by the respondents. They however, strived hard to secure a source of livelihood and attain harmony within the family. The findings, figures out a total number of 105 women out of the 385 respondents contributed between 80% and 100% of their earning to household budget. The findings also prove that, despite the challenges, these women are determined to continue with their work and or improve on it hoping to achieve a better future. This research therefore, recommends that more researches on this topic are necessary to make these women efforts recognized and appreciated. Government and NGOs should help give vocational skills training alongside a startup capital. Men should learn to appreciate and encourage their spouses. Government should recognize the sector as important and formulate a policy to cover 



1.1  Background of the Study

Urbanization is one of the 21st century’s most transformative trends. In parallel the urban informal economy has assumed increased prominence, providing jobs for millions of urban residents and contributing to the economies of fast growing cities. Yet policy and practice has been slow to catch up in harnessing the potential and energy of informal economy enterprises and workers. Thus, this demonstrates how urban informal workers make a key contribution to the vision of urban equity and economic prosperity for all (Clos, 2016).

The informal economy is the lifeblood of many cities today. It provides jobs for many, in some cities the majority of urban workers, provides flexible services to many urban residents, and makes significant contributions to urban economies. The informal economy demonstrates vibrancy, flexibility and entrepreneurship, and supports local supply chains and global exchange. However, diversity makes the informal economy hard to capture in conventional urban policy processes (Clos, 2016).

Increasing urbanization is a global phenomenon, meaning that as urbanization increases, the number of urban poor will also continue to rise proportionally (Ngboawaji, 2010). Many of these poor are women moving from rural to urban areas and across countries with dreams of getting incorporated iinto  the  global  work  force, with the opportunities for them to  pursue  careers  to  enhance  their  command  over  limited  household  resources/income,  take  advantage  of increased  physical  mobility  todevelop  their  managerial, technical  and  entrepreneurial  skills, finding better lives, better job opportunities, more and better educational and health resources, and having fewer restrictions on new freedoms with the  majority  of  these  activities  taking  place  within  the  informal  economy (Ngboawaji, 2010). Most, if not all, of these women settle in urban areas that are not designed with their safety in mind; nor is access provided to resources that meet their unique and universal needs. These women, according to Action Aid (2015), struggle to make a living in the informal labour market, fighting against forces that subjugate them socially, economically, martially and religiously.

Women faces numerous disadvantages in the urban economic setup; attributed generally to their restricted mobility and use of space; limited skills and work experience; minimal access to capital; discrimination in the home and labour market; limited representation in formal governance structures; additional responsibilities involving unpaid domestic and care work and secondary roles (often underpaid or unpaid) in family businesses (Chant, 2013 and UN-Habitat, 2013). Many of these women in cities face additional disadvantages arising from a combination of low-income, inadequate and expensive accommodation, limited access to basic services (often monetized), exposure to environmental hazards, high rates of crime and violence (Tacoli 2012).

In the developed countries the share of working women is equal in labor force, whereas, in developing countries, the situation is different and unsatisfactory. In developing countries like Pakistan, women are not only deprived of basic amenities of life but also handicapped. They are facing poverty, low income, least equal opportunities, and lack of resources, both in rural and urban areas of Pakistan. The incidence of poverty is more severe in urban areas as compared to rural areas, particularly among women (Husain, 2000).Women informal economic activities and poverty alleviation are of growing concern to individuals, groups and governments, largely because the worsening levels of productivity and poverty in the rural areas directly threaten the food security and living standards of the average rural. Research shows that, in sub-Saharan Africa, female labour is largely concentrated in the agricultural sector (Awan, Zahir and Abbas, 2015).

This scenario appears to have motivated Nkom (2000) to observe that more than 90% of Nigeria’s food supply comes from the informal sector of economic activities which are dominated by rural women. Women’s irregular, casual forms of work in the informal economy can be tagged as activities done for pay or profit. In Africa, women’s labour force participation has always been higher when compared with men counter-part. How be it, women face certain restrictions in terms of work relative to men and these vary across the world (Nkom, 2000).

The informal economic activities sector, serves as the single most important source of employment in rural Nigeria. The sector is essential as it provides an opportunity for a large majority of the rural women who form the bulk of the rural populace for self-actualization, self-reliance and fulfillment. It contributes to financial capital accumulation and the formation of human capital, both of which are essential ingredients of accelerated development (Fapohunda, 2012).

Informal sector employment is generally a larger source of employment for women than for men in developing world. In developing countries 60 percent or more women workers are informally employed (outside agriculture) though in Asia the proportion of women and men is roughly equivalent (International Labour Organization 2002). Informal employment include all remuneration work, both self-employment and wage-employment, that is not recognized, regulated, or protected by existing legal or regulatory framework and non-remunerative work undertaken in an income-producing enterprise. Most informal workers including both self-employed and wage-workers are deprived of secure work, workers’ benefits, social protection, and representation or voice. The self-employed have to take care of themselves and their enterprises. Moreover, they often face a competitive disadvantage vis-à-vis larger formal firms in capital and product markets. Informal wage workers also have to take care of themselves as they receive few (if any) employer-sponsored benefits. Moreover, both groups receive little (if any) legal or social protection. As a result of these and other factors, a higher percentage of people working in the informal sector, compared to those working in the formal sector, are poor. In the situation women employed in informal sector are vulnerable to exploitation. But they are struggling for their family survival by contributing in their household budgets (Khan and Khan 2008).

In times of economic crises, households and families tend to supplement their livelihoods and incomes from the informal economy (Chakanya, 2008). The informal economy refers to those enterprises that are not registered and legally outside the tax net. It is often identified as lacking structure and as being unorganized (Guha-Khasnobis, Kanbur and Ostrom, 2007). In developing countries the impact of the informal economy is great, because of poor economic performance, high population growth, civil strife, big financial debts and the HIV/Aids pandemic (Mofokeng, 2005). Women in particular are affected by the informality of work and they tend to be over-represented in informal employment both in developing and developed nations (Mofokeng, 2005). Leach (1999) propounds that the informal sector has provided an opportunity for work for most women who have few or no skills.

In Africa and particularly in Nigeria, the level of unemployment has been on the increase as the year advances (United Nation Development Programme 1993). This is because economic meltdown and recession, undoubtedly led to reduction in public spending and in declining wages as well as high level of retrenchment in the formal sector and private establishments being experienced in the recent years (Oyedsola, 2010). The inadequate provision of jobs in the formal sector of the economy as well as the poor skills in the large part of the labour force has substantially spurred the growth of the informal sector among which most workers are in the low paid employment, under unregulated and poor working conditions (Farrel, 2000).

Therefore, increase in public sector retrenchment has continued to swell the ranks of the informal activities beyond the nations absorptive capacity (Nwaka, 2005) hence there is resultant and unprecedented growth of informal enterprises in the past two decades in cities of developing countries and in Nigeria in particular (Okeke, 2000 Onyebueke 2000 and Liimatainen 1998).Besides, the problem of bad economy coupled with bad governance and political instability that has been on the startling rate in the last two decades, is a major underlying factor responsible for the expansion of the informal enterprises (Onyebuke, 2000).

1.2       Statements of the Research Problem

The contribution of the informal sector to total household income is significant in many regions: for example, in several African countries, (including Nigeria) informal sector income accounts for nearly 30% of total household income and over 40% of total urban household income (Benjamin et al., 2014). Women in the labour force in Nigeria generally have low participation in the formal sector. Many of them take up employment or are self-employed in the informal sector. The women mostly operate in a hostile environment and are not well recognize and ignored as far as government’s public policy and protection is concerned. Often, they are seen as illegal and informal traders to be harassed by rule of law and law-enforcement agents. The women in the informal sector generally have limited access to start-up and working capital, and other resources, such as credit and technology. Hence, they use technology, requiring minimal capital investment (Tinuke, 2012).

Many researchers used different methods to estimate the effects of urban informal economic activities affecting women's contribution in the household budget in different areas. For instance, Mehrotra and Biggeri (2002), recently, Abdul et al (2015) used the OLS method to analyze the factors affecting women contribution in household budget in urban informal sector with data collected from women whom are contributing in the household budget through their informal economic activities from urban councils District of Dera Ghazi Khan. The result shows that women’s education, woman’s profession; woman’s working hours, women outside (home) work permission, number of dependents and poverty status of household positively and significantly affect their support (contribution) to the household budget. Some others carried out their research on rural women (Onyenechere, 2011, Mohammed, 2014 and Hilda, 2014) and made use of analysis of variance and other simpler statistical methods. They found out that most of the Women took part in wide range of economic activities from which they generate income for their household needs. Unfortunately, not much is known in respect to the extent with which they participated in these activities, what they earn and the level of their contribution to household income.

It is due to lack of this information that this study came to focus, seeking to enhance the visibility of women’s contribution to household economy in the study area and to informal sector of Kaduna state due also, to the fact that none was carried out in the area.

1.3       Research Questions

In defining the problem of the study, the following questions were asked:

i.                    What are the major women informal economic activities in the study area and the reasons why they engaged in them?

ii.                  What is their average earning and the percentage of it contributed to household development?

iii.                What are the effects of these women informal activities on their livelihood?

iv.                What challenges do women who engage in these activities encounter in the study area?

1.4       Aim and Objectives of the Study

The aim of this work is to investigate urban women informal economic activities and household income in Kaduna North Local Government Area, Kaduna State.

The aim was achieved through the following specific objectives, to:

        i.            Identify the major women informal economic activities in the study area and reasons why they engage in them;

      ii.            analyze their average income and the percentage they contributed to their household development;

    iii.            examine the effects of these women informal economic activities on their livelihood; and

    iv.            Identify and discuss the challenges these women encounter in the study area.

1.5       Scope of the Study

The study will cover an area land mass of 72km2, and data on informal activities of eighth (8) years will be elicited from the respondent from 2010- 2017. The research will cover the major informal economic activities in Kaduna North Local Government Area; examine the effects of urban women informal economic activities on household income in Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna State and examine the challenges faced by urban women who engage in informal economic activities in the study area.

1.6       Justification of the Study

This study on women informal economic activities and household income in Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna State was necessitated due to the immense contribution by women in the informal sector and the large proportions of women who are relegated to the informal activities. The findings of this study would expose the role of women in the informal sector in the study area and thus, facilitate the pooling of untapped resources of women towards revitalizing the State economy. Findings of the study would attract and promote revenue generation to the government at all level to improve the income levels and the standard of living of their operators, even when such activities seem to offer little possibility for new job creation. Policy makers would find this research of great value in making policies that might affect women informal economic activities at the grass root level and the study will also be of great help to students and other researchers.

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