Time and Location

Monday, 7 October 2019, 19:00 – 21:00
ÖGB-Catamaran, RIVERBOX, Johann-Böhm-Platz 1, 1020 Vienna (U2 Donau Marina)


Panel discussion with

Lorraine Sibanda, President of StreetNet International and President of ZCIEA - Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations, Gwanda, Zimbabwe

Karin Pape, Deputy director and coordinator of WIEGO - Women in Informal Economy: Globalizing and Organizing, Berlin/Manchester

Teresa Wabuko, National Women Coordinator at the KUDHEIHA - Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions and Hospital Workers

Moderation: Rita Isiba, Aphropean, Vienna/London

Korinna Schumann, Vice President OGB
Sybille Straubinger, Director VIDC

An event for World Day for Decent Work 2019
in cooperation with the Austrian Trade Union Federation (OGB) and weltumspannend arbeiten

Languages: English and German with simultaneous interpretation

Registration: schmidjell@remove-this.vidc.org

Or by clicking on eventbrite

Silenced? Women's struggles in Africa's informal economy



In Africa, 70 to 90 percent of workers are engaged in the informal economy. Typical sectors are household work, street trade, catering, transport and agriculture. For a long time, the informal economy was seen as a temporary phenomenon on the way to modernisation.Typical characteristics of the informal economy are  - beside self-employment - wage employment relations without a contracts, without adequate social security, without sick pay, without holidays or without trade union representation.

For a long time, the informal economy was seen as a temporary phenomenon on the way to industrialization. Meanwhile, informal work is growing again worldwide, affecting women in particular.

Even in European countries where labor standards and social protection have been fought, deregulation and unsafe working relationships are on the rise. Take, for example, the CARE economy, the digital economy or the temporary work.

Why is the informal economy a constant in global capitalism? Why are women more affected by informal work and what does it mean for family life? How can formal employment relationships with living wages, social security and occupational health measures be strengthened? What successes have brought the struggles of initiatives of street workers and unions?


Lorraine Sibanda

is President of the Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA), which includes street vendors, construction workers, garbage collectors, and other informal economy workers. Since 2016, she has been President of StreetNet International, an international umbrella organization with 52 affiliates from 48 countries in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. StreetNet represents over half a million market and street vendors. Lorraine Sibanda works through union organizing for the rights of workers in the informal economy, for improving their entrepreneurial skills and for access to social services. She studied pedagogy at the University of Zimbabwe and worked as a teacher from 2004 to 2006.

Karin Pape

works Deputy Director for the Organisation and Representation Program) and European Coordinator at WIEGO (Women in Informal Economy: Globalizing and Organizing). Her expertise includes informal and precarious work, home and household work, international trade union work and ILO issues (International Labor Organization). From 2007 to 2009 she was a consultant at WIEGO. Afterwards,  she worked for two years as an international coordinator at the IDWN (International Domestic Workers Network). In 2011, Karin Pape returned to WIEGO and coordinated the associations of domestic workers in Europe. She was instrumental in founding the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF). She is a trained economist.

Teresa Wabuko

is Assistant Secretary General and National Women Coordinator at the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions and Hospital Workers (KUDHEIHA). This Union is affiliated to the umbrella organization of trade unions in Kenya (COTU-K). She is member of the National Women's Committee where she serves as the focal person on labour migration. Furthermore Teresa Wabuko is the chairperson of East Africa Trade Union Confederation (EATUC) Women's Committee. As the domestic sector is informal, vulnerable and currently experiencing various challenges with regards to labour migration, Teresa Wabuko is involved in the development of a training manual for the informal economy sector in Kenya.

Rita Isiba

is a moderator and communication expert. In 2016, she founded Aphropean Partners, a specialised communication agency to provide consultants, decision-makers, NGOs and government agencies a natural extension of marketing to streamline the process of change management for the future of work, cultural and gender diversity management in the workplace and society. Previously, she has worked for various UN agencies, marketing agencies and investment banks, including leading to West Africa. Rita Isiba graduated from Hertfordshire University, England with a degree in Business and European Studies and Masters of Business Administration at the Heriot-Watt University (both in the UK). She obtained a certification in business consultancy by Oxford College.