Feminised work, invisible labour: Against the formal-informal economy dichotomy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

2 Citations (Scopus)


How is the distinction between formal and informal economy gendered, what kind of hierarchies does it (re)produce, whose labour and work does it render invisible? This chapter outlines some of the insights in existing feminist political economy literature and the critiques therein of the formal—informal economy dichotomy regarding its gendered and gendering outcomes. It unpacks the ways in which the dichotomy is organised around gendered expectations and relatedly, the processes through which gendered power relations are (re)produced. In doing so, it uses Peterson’s (2003) approach to formal—informal labour as a continuum, a process of informalisation, and analyses the gender dimensions of the three types of activities she outlines on the basis of their sites, participants, and level of regulation: the social, the irregular, and the formal economy. The chapter also highlights examples from conflict-affected and developing societies, as contexts within which the dichotomy is even more noticeably gendered and gendering.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge handbook of feminist peace research
EditorsTarja Väyrynen, Swati Parashar, Élise Féron, Catia Cecilia Confortini
ISBN (Electronic)ISBN 9780429024160
ISBN (Print)9780367109844
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2021


  • political economy
  • gender
  • informal economy
  • formal economy
  • intersectionality


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