Social Security of Female Workers in Informal Sector: Perspectives of Structure and Agency
11 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2009
Date Written: December 11, 2009
Thailand, after economic crisis since 1990, it was found that many more female workers have been scattered to the informal sector. According to the survey report by the National Statistic Office, the number of sub-contracted home based workers is the highest in the Northeast. Those female workers have been influenced by social security issues for example, social welfare, violence and sexual harassment, health and socio-economic circumstances in family. In addition, there were also the problems of health and the safety in work place caused by the risk of production process. When the new industry model expands extensively in the rural, the tendency of employment in such informal sector is also higher. The question which is always asked is what those workers’ perspectives on their social security are. This article is aimed to analyze, based on the structuration theory’s Anthony Giddens, those female workers’ perspective on their social security through the dimensions of structure and agency. This study was the qualitative research; data collection was done by using the qualitative method: participatory observation and in-depth interview. The participants were 15 northeastern women working in the rural area of Loei Province, Thailand, during March-April in 2009. The data was analyzed on content analysis.
The findings showed that there were three important perspectives related to the structure and the agency that influence social security of female workers in the informal sector: risk, poverty, and right and responsibility. The risk as in the perspective of those female workers indicated 3 elements: welfare, social security, and social assistance. The poverty from their view was the insufficiency of income. The right and responsibility included the accessibility, and the equality in working.
Conclusion, the female workers’ life experiences were the product of both social structure and agency. Additionally, the result of such workers’ action was reflected through the social conditions and the social action which consequently indicated the gender inequality. The findings of this study provided an understanding on social security of female workers in the informal sector at the rural area which would lead to further study on how the female workers create their own social security.
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