Women's Employment in Africa: Part Two

by Developed Africa 22. October 2013 09:00

Continuing on from yesterday's blog, we look towards solutions to the issues behind the unfairness in Women's employment.

We went through the first two segments attached to the issue, firstly we identified the problem; secondly, the causes of this problem; and now we will look to solutions as well as why it is better for the whole continent.

Solutions to the problem of female employment in Africa.

Key to improving the situation of Women's employment in Africa is changing how they are treated by employers. If we take the agricultural sector as an example, it is clear that whilst there is a higher percentage of women working in agriculture, their pay is not inline with that of men's. Therefore, what needs to change here is employment and payment rules and regulations within different sectors. 
In terms of other sectors, in which it is not so easy to police regulations, what is important for women is leverage in accepting a job. At the moment, they accept these badly-paid jobs with awful conditions and instability because they have no other choice. It is that, or living in even deeper poverty. 

when employed, women are more likely than men to engage in farming, and less likely to be self-employed or wage earners."

So, the solution, is to invest in women. Invest into their ideas and the businesses they are currently trying to run on a small scale. It is observed that street vendors, for example, in many African countries are almost exclusively women, because they take what little they do control within the household and try and sell items they have made, or food, to passers by. This proves that many women across Africa have the entrepreneurial spirit to bring themselves out of poverty, and the drive to work hard. Women like this should be invested in, to bring them into the formal sector and to improve their job circumstances, as well as to improve the employment of other women, as investing in one woman's business idea would lead to the need to hire employees. 

Advantages of more Women in real employment.

The advantages of involving more women in real employment are hard to argue against. There is no reason why one would want to argue against the inclusion of women into fair and equal employment. It not only benefits the whole economy but also can help to improve the livelihoods of individual households. 

An article from AllAfrica that we have referenced previously quotes a report from the Africa Agriculture Status Report which argued that:

providing women the same access to productive resources as men could increase yields on their farms by 20 to 30 percent".

This argument is representative of an argument that can be used across all sectors, if women were given the same access to resources, and treated the same as men, productivity would be through the roof. Benefiting each country's economy, and then the image of Africa as a whole too. There are so many women willingly working in unfair circumstances that the difference they would make given fair conditions would be phenomenal. 

But the breakthroughs do not just need to be made in sectors in which women are employees. But they can prove their worth as employers and innovators too; and investment is key here. By investing in women with entrepreneurial drive, so much progress can be made, not only for the women involved, their families, and their communities. But their country, and subsequently Africa, can grow further and develop fully.


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