In the last decade Zimbabwe has faced serious political, social and economic challenges which have affected the ordinary citizen. Among the economic challenges is the rapid growth of the informal economy which has become the main employer for most people. This growth is attributable to the shrinking formal economy which has left many people jobless and fighting to survive. The alternative is the informal economy which is accommodating millions of Zimbabweans providing a source of income and form of livelihood. Women tend to be overrepresented in the informal economy and among them is a sub-group of women who head households. Women headed households are among the poorest people in the world. The aim of this study was to determine and explore how the informal economy impacts on social and economic development of women headed households. This aim was realised through contextualizing WHH within a social and economic development framework; determining the nature and extent of the informal economy in Zimbabwe; conducting an empirical study which explored and determined the impact made by the informal economy in the social and economic development of WHH in Chegutu urban area of Zimbabwe and research findings, conclusions and recommendations were made to support women involved in the informal economy. A qualitative approach was utilised in the study and the case study was used as the research design. Data was gathered by means of semi-structured interviews. The targeting and snowball sampling methods were used to identify respondents. Findings from the study indicated that women headed households in the informal economy benefit from the sector. They are self-employed, it is their main source of income, main form of livelihood which caters for all their household necessities, it brings in sustainable livelihood and it has enhanced their self-esteem and economic independence. The informal economy however, posits many challenges for women headed households. For instance it creates many health and economic hardships. The informal economy lacks security, organisation, recognition, social protection and legal representation. There is lack of government and institutional support and resources are inaccessible to most women headed households. The study concluded that integrated social and economic development is the key to the eradication of poverty. Opportunities for active participation in the economy combined with sound social policy are critical for the empowerment of women headed households. Based on the findings and conclusions, recommendations were made to the government, municipality and NGOs to be more supportive of women headed households. This can be done by forming partnerships that focus on skills development to enhance human capital, develop poverty eradication strategies that are informed by social development framework, creating awareness of resources through information centres, subsidising education, medical care and rentals and engaging financial institutions to offer capital and credit facilities.