Gender disparities in Africa’s labor market

Evidence indicates that in several countries in Africa, women’s earnings are a fraction of male’s earnings. It is argued in this book that the gap is not simply the result of discrimination in the labour markets, but rather the result of multiple factors, including access to education and credit, cultural values and household duties and labour market conditions. Gender disparities are shown to grow when economies are not functioning well and labour markets are very small. Job rationing causes those with better human capital and those with more power in the household—usually the men—to take the few jobs that are available. In regions with small formal sectors, gender disparities in earnings are high. Firm-level and sector characteristics are additional powerful factors in explaining the gender disparities in the labour market. Multifaceted strategies are required. Governments must actively encourage environments that support economic growth and job creation, as well as by promoting equal access for women to education. Attitudes that limit what women may achieve must be addressed. Gender Disparities in Africa’s Labour Market helps to fill the knowledge gap and identify the links between gender disparities and poverty reduction.


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