Women in Informal Labor Market: Bargaining Power Still Hangs in Balance


  • Farhana Zaman American International University-Bangladesh (AIUB)
  • Shaira Matin American International University-Bangladesh (AIUB)


Informal labor sector, Bargaining power, Women empowerment


Informal labor sector becomes a pivotal part of Bangladesh economy in term of its contribution to total employment. Due to the overpopulation the formal sector has failed to accommodate a bulging labor force of our country. Therefore the informal sector appears to be the major source of employment especially for women in urban areas as the formal sector is dominated by male. But unfortunately the increased rate of participation of women in this sector is characterized by low and irregular income thus ineffective to ensure women’s greater bargaining power at home. Drawing on two surveys conducted in 1998 and 2013, this paper aims to assess the difference between the living standard of women workers in the past and at present. The study found no significant positive change in their living conditions. Based on both quantitative and qualitative study, this paper also explores the decision making power of women over the fertility issues. The study found that these women tend to have more number of children due to the strong influence of their male counterparts. The study further suggests that the government should immediately address the issue by forming new laws and policies for the urban informal women workers to incorporate/ integrate them with the mainstream labor market and thereby pave the way towards women empowerment.