Honors Sample Proposal-International Labor Organization and Women's Labor Rights in the Informal Sector of Tanzania

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Research Proposal: International Labor Organization and women’s labor rights in the informal sector of Tanzania. Keywords: Tanzania, women’s labor rights, International Labor Organization (ILO), core standards, informal sector, globalization Objective: This study analyzes the effect of globalization on women’s labor rights in the informal sector of Tanzania. Specifically, it uses the International Labor Organization’s core standards as a method for measuring the effect of globalization on the status of women in the Tanzanian economy. First, this project will show that the informal sector in Tanzania has been growing at a rapid rate because of increasing female participation. Next, it will analyze the impact of the growing informal economy on women’s social status within the country and most importantly, their standards of living measured in terms of health benefits, wages, and education. Finally, it will explain the link between ILO core standards and globalization and how these two elements have affected women’s labor rights in Tanzania. My hypothesis is that the growth in the informal sector of the economy is primarily due to increased incentive to leave the formal sector because of a large gender wage gap and harsh working conditions. Additionally, the lower education and literacy rates of women in Tanzania seem to have made job matching extremely difficult, thereby pushing the majority of women to create home-based projects to earn a living. However, while women have been able to earn higher wages in the informal sector than the formal sector, they have ultimately been made invisible to local laws and labor protection policies. Thus I predict that the application of the ILO core standards in Tanzania have had a negative effect on women’s economic status in Tanzania because of their exclusion from labor protection policies and increased competition from other nations producing similar goods on an industrial level. Background: The ILO is a tripartite institution within the United Nations that brings together governments, workers and employers, in an effort to promote the rights of workers. In order to pursue its mission, the ILO has created four core internationally recognized principles, which include 1) freedom of association, 2) freedom from forced labor, 3) the abolition of child labor and 4) nondiscrimination in employment, to ultimately raise the standards for labor across the globe. The standard that is most important in answering this question of women’s labor rights concerns the prohibition of discrimination in the workplace. The ILO defines equality in the workplace as an environment in which individuals should be given equal opportunities to gain knowledge and skills that help them acquire the human capital necessary to pursue their desired “economic activities.” Tanzania has been a member of the ILO since 1962 and has ratified 2 of the ILO standards. Since then, Tanzania has experienced numerous wars and economic crisis especially during the 1970’s and 1980’s in which most of the women left the formal sector of the economy due to huge drops in real wages. As a result, Ali Tripp reports that these women started their own projects in the informal sector of the economy to provide for their families (Tripp 1989). For example, 70% of the flower export industry in Tanzania is comprised of women workers. However, labor groups often neglect these women because they are outside the formal sector of the economy. This study seeks to discover the consequences of this neglect in a fast-paced integrated economic market. An example that sheds light on the outcome is Bangladesh. Like Tanzania, Bangladesh has been a member of the ILO for around 40 years and has ratified 7 of 8 crucial labor standards promoted by ILO. However, Naila Kabeer’s study on the garment industry in Bangladesh’s informal sector proves this has done little to alter the working conditions for women (Kabeer 2004). Kabeer argues that employers within the...
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