Global market research company Euromonitor International has published a collaborative study ‘Pathways to Gender-Inclusive Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Sectoral Analysis’, that proposes actions and policies for consideration to promote Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) in the region.
The Pathways study examines women’s involvement in 19 sectors across Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda.
The study explores the structural, normative, and individual factors that can act as barriers and provide opportunities for WEE. It also seeks to contribute to efforts which add actionable insights into an environment with scarce gender-disaggregated data and limited gender research on specific sectors.
The Pathways study was created by Euromonitor International and representatives from six partner organisations. Partners included: U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), International Cooperative Research Group, the research arm of the US Overseas Cooperative Development Council, the Mastercard Foundation, Canada’s International Development Research Centre, UN Women, and the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN ECA).
Women’s roles are undervalued in the region
According to Dr Bolutife Onaneye, Senior Consultant at Euromonitor: “In SSA, male dominance evolves with the economic value of a product. When food crops cultivated by women become marketable, men take over the product. To build sustainable and inclusive economic development in SSA, gender considerations should be mainstreamed into all activities, from policy formulation to programme design, planning and budgeting, through to implementation and monitoring”.
Women’s contributions are often unrecognised, undervalued, and underpaid in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). According to the study, women remain concentrated in low-paying or unpaid roles in many sectors with few opportunities for diversification, expansion or advancement. When women earn, they do not always have equal say in how income is spent.
Agriculture is a primary sector in the region that is represented by a majority female workforce, yet men are the landowners and associated development services are mainly offered to the legal landowner.
Recommendations for addressing barriers and opportunities in Women’s Economic Empowerment
- Structural: Short-term and long-term provisions and systems should be in place to support workers and business owners in the informal sector.
- Normative: Interventions should consider and mitigate gendered risks, such as increased unpaid work burden for women, women being displaced from economic activities, or women facing increased gender-based violence due to the intervention.
- Individual: Interventions should support the formation and growth of women’s roles in cooperatives, including women-led cooperatives. These should focus on increasing efficiency, reducing costs through bulk purchases of inputs and services, the use of shared transportation and distribution networks, upskilling and other actions to increase women’s agency. Cooperatives can also help open access to new markets through the aggregation of products, allowing women to deliver in volume and negotiate better prices.
- Visit Euromonitor International’s dashboard for the ‘Pathways to Gender-Inclusive Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Sectoral Analysis’, to access the report.