Left out in the cold: Interrogating the inclusion of women employed in the informal sector in Lesotho into the formal Social Security System
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The economic crisis in Lesotho has led masses in resorting to informal sector as an alternative survival strategy to sustain their livelihoods. The author is human rights based lawyer and women activist who is agitated by the imbalances in both the application and/or enforcement of rights and distribution of resources within the citizens in the country. She was motivated by her experiential data as a daughter and dependant of an informal sector worker and by being sentientto the fact that in Lesotho the wellbeing of an informal worker or of his and/or her dependants is insignificant to the tax collector, what matters most is the proceeds accruing from the actual business itself leading to dichotomisation in both sectors and in the provision of social security social measures accorded to workers in each sector. Consequently, in the process, the inherent idea of human rights engrained in UDHR, ICSECR, ACPHR, amidst others, becomes delusional notwithstanding the fact that Lesotho is a signatory to various human rights instruments which entails promotion, protection and respect of human rights and has weaved her Constitution and labour regimes on the basis of such instruments. Various methodologies including women law and legal pluralism approaches were utilised to get a full insight on the women’s lived realities and experiences. The research was based on the review of primary and secondary sources of data to assess discriminatory impact of the existing measures of social security system in relation to women employed in the informal sector. It was qualitative based research, using random and purposive sampling. The interviews were instigated mainly on the women themselves even though male counterparts were also interviewed. It exposed how institutions such as family commonly cut across the two systems compromising the position of women further by putting all the burden of care on them. This paper concludes by making several recommendations and emphasis on possible reforms on the existing laws and policies.