Informal trade as an instrument to fight urban poverty and promote new orders of social stratification: Studying the involvement of women in informal economic activities in Maputo , Mozambique

Sonia Frias Piepoli, ISCSP - Universidade Técnica de Lisboa

Mozambique, has experienced great transformation on the pattern of population distribution. Movements from rural to urban spaces seem progressive in spite of the impoverishment of the cities. Countrymen need to adapt to this new environment to survive. Informal economy become a resource for a huge number of families and the entrepreneurship of women emerge not only as a new phenomenon, but also as an effective weapon to fight poverty. Our data have directed us towards a parallel and complex reality. Informal trade helped many of those who were affected by the Structural Adjustment reforms and proved to be an alternative to formal economy and also a supplier of the formal economic system. Is also an instrument for personal, family and social empowerment. A closer look at this phenomenon allow to foresee adjustments and reformulations in terms of gender relations, of the appearance of specialised professional classes and new social class.

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Presented in Poster Session 3