Women's Work in Domestic Service and Banking in Ghana : Formalizing the Informal and Informalizing the Formal?

Since the 1990s, economic liberalization and labour reforms have brought about significant changes to the banking and domestic service sectors in Ghana. On the one hand, domestic service is becoming increasingly formalized, procured through agents and agencies. On the other hand, banking - traditionally a bastion of formality and long-term employment - is changing with the introduction of labour agencies. These changes in the terms and conditions of women's work in Ghana are taking place in a context of labour market liberalization and the informalization of work in both developed and developing countries. To date, policy interest in the informalization of labour markets in Ghana has focused mainly on formalizing enterprises with a view to increasing the tax base. Less attention has been paid to women's working conditions and economic citizenship rights.

This project aims to correct this bias by generating a better understanding of the gendered implications of the informalization and formalization of labour relations. It will do so by investigating how employment agencies in the banking sector and in the provision of domestic services are changing the character of women's work. It is hoped that this will, in turn, influence policy toward the creation of an employment regime that is gender equitable and promotes sustainable livelihoods.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Monday, April 7, 2008

End Date

Friday, May 11, 2012


36 months

IDRC Officer

Thioune, Ramata Aw

Total funding

CA$ 263,100


Ghana, North of Sahara, South of Sahara


Employment and Growth

Project Leader

Dr. Dzodzi Tsikata


University of Ghana

Institution Country


Institution Website