Women’s Contribution to Urban Livelihoods through Market Based Activities within the Informal Sector in Kisii Town, Kenya

Mercy Chepkurui Rugutt, Hadija Murenga, Erick Bor


Women in urban areas draw from a wide range of activities in the informal sector to secure urban households. Urban market spaces play a crucial role in the urban economy particularly among women. This paper sought to establish women’s contribution to urban livelihoods through their involvement in market based activities within the informal sector in Kisii Town. Literature review covered current debates on women’s engagement in informal sector activities for urban livelihoods. The sustainable livelihood framework was useful in guiding the study as it focused on how households construct their livelihoods within the broader social economic and physical context. The study population was drawn from women population in the informal sector in Kisii town. The unit of analysis was women engaged in livelihood activities in the informal sector. Simple random sampling was used in selection of the sample size of 354 respondents.  Data was collected using an interview schedule and direct observation, while data analysis employed both quantitative and qualitative methods to produce both descriptive and analytic findings of the study. Findings of the study established a statistically significant relationship between women market based activities and urban livelihoods Kisii town. Considering that the market based activities within the informal sector is a lifeline for the greater majority of the urban women population this study recommends that informal sector activities be protected and promoted through enactment of supportive legislation as well as formulation of appropriate polices to safeguard the sector given its overall contribution to livelihood of many urban residents.

Keywords: Women’s Contribution, Market Based Activities, Informal sector and Urban Livelihoods

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