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Studies show that the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions had disproportionately negative impacts on the majority of the world’s workers who work informally, and on women informal workers in particular. This reflects the interplay between the pandemic, existing decent work deficits in informal employment, and discriminatory gendered norms within and outside the workplace. Based on a sample of 1,935 informal workers from a mixed-method longitudinal study across 12 cities in 2020 and 2021 conducted by Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), this article finds that the gendered impacts on informal workers within and between occupational sectors observed in the initial three months have persisted over a year and half into the pandemic, and explores the reasons for the gender-differentiated impacts. It then considers the specific demands made by informal workers to the state, highlighting the ways in which sector and gender mediate workers’ policy needs. Finally, it provides evidence of the role of member-based organisations of informal workers in responding directly to the needs of women workers, and on making claims on the state to fulfil these needs.

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