Project at a glance

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Marketplaces are extremely important for women’s livelihoods. Women make up the vast majority of marketplace vendors in Timor-Leste, with an estimated 75%-90% of vendors estimated to be women.

The purpose of this project was to identify and analyse the various concerns and opportunities for improvement, from the perspective of women vendors themselves. The research found that as workplaces, marketplaces are often sites of sexual harassment/abuse, and lacking in basic facilities such as toilets and running water, all of which limit women vendors’ ability to work with dignity and earn an adequate income.

The research was conducted across four municipal and sub-municipal marketplaces in Timor-Leste: Maliana, Atabai, Baucau and Venilale, from 2018 to early 2019. The approach was participatory, conducting a series of workshops with women vendors and government/civil society stakeholders to analyse the main contributing factors, and develop a basic advocacy strategy to address these concerns with Municipal government service providers.

“The TOMAK program engaged Bridging Peoples in 2018 to conduct a gendered marketplace assessment of four marketplaces in Timor-Leste. Ably led by Deborah Cummins, Bridging Peoples brought a depth of experience, developing a robust methodology to thoughtfully capture the voices, experiences and aspirations of women marketplace vendors. We greatly appreciated the ease of communication and collaborative spirit of the team, and the resulting research presentations and report are something we can all be proud of.”

Inga Mepham, International Gender Specialist
TOMAK Program (implemented in Timor-Leste by Adam Smith International)