The healthy global economy is critical to Africa’s economic and national security. All these could be achieved through the contributions of both women and men around the world. Women’s labor force participation rates are unequal to men. Adequate work opportunities are far too limited and significant gender pay gaps in the labor market.
Many women face multiple obstacles when trying to advance into the workforce along with men. The problem started early, as societal norms and expectations often keep women from pursuing education and skills training. Globally. Women are more likely than men to shoulder the time burden of unpaid activities, such as cleaning the home, caring for the children and elders in society. These challenges often prevent them from obtaining education, training, and skills needed to enter into higher-wage, high-growth occupations in various fields, such as science, technology, engineering, and math (“STEM”) where men are disproportionately employed.
For instance, women make up nearly half of the agricultural labor force in many African countries, but without equal access to adequate training and certifications. Women are often working in the lowest-paid roles and tending low-value crops. With a more level playing field, female farmers could increase their productivity and also be able to feed their families and more people around the globe.
Women also face less access to digital services, which can be a platform for training, employment, financial services, and facilitating women’s economic empowerment. More than 1.6 billion women in low and middle-income countries still do not own a mobile phone, and they are 25% less likely to use mobile internet than men. These factors reinforce women’s economic inequality.
Women’s economic empowerment and equality exist in the workforce when women receive the same market-relevant education and vocational opportunities as men once in the workforce. They have the ability to organize work for enhanced productivity and compete on equal terms for job openings, advancement, and retention with equal pay for work.
Women entrepreneurs in the developing world also lack access to digital market information, personal services, networks, mentorship, and other resources that enable them to overcome the obstacles of starting and growing firms as well as connecting with buyers and also in the area of finance. Most of these barriers are systemic, while others are more individualized. Systemic barriers require institutional reforms.
Women’s economic empowerment and equality exist when women entrepreneurs enjoy equal access when provided with the same affordable financing mechanisms that men have, including both credit, equity, equal access to markets, market information, digital technology, and services.
Investing in women is vital for our collective economic prosperity and global stability. When we empower women, communities prosper and countries thrive.
Written By: Michael Sam Idoko (Mc Highnesscfr )