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Gender Equality in Employment in Africa: Empirical Analysis and Policy Implications

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Gender equality in employment is currently one of the greatest development challenges facing countries globally, including those in Africa. In 2011, the male employment-to-population ratio, globally, was estimated at about 72.7 per cent compared to the female employment-to-population ratio of only 47.9 per cent. For Africa as a whole, the male employment-to-population ratio was estimated at about 69.2 per cent compared to the female employment-to-population ratio of only 39.2 per cent. In addition to analysing the characteristics of gender equality in employment in Africa, this paper empirically studies the key drivers of gender equality in employment (proxied by the ratio of female employment rate to male employment rate for the age group 15–64 over the period, 1991 and 2009), using cross-sectional data. Our results suggest that for the all-Africa and sub-Saharan African samples, increased democracy (and its quadratic form), higher gross domestic investment, more primary education, and higher urban share of the population increase gender equality in employment while higher level of real GDP per capita, higher foreign direct investment, sex population ratio, and being a net oil-exporting country tend to lower it. However, North Africa is different. Apart from a negative and highly significant North African dummy in the overall results, the North African specific sample result indicates that while the quadratic element of real GDP per capita, higher gross domestic investment, higher urban share of the population, more secondary education, and being an oil-exporting country increase gender equality in employment, higher levels of real GDP per capita, more primary education, and sex population ratio tend to lower gender equality in employment in the sub-region. The policy implications and lessons of these results are discussed. These policies are directed at making the African labor market more inclusive and hence enhancing women's employment for the purpose of greater economic empowerment, household welfare and poverty reduction, in particular.

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  • John Anyanwu & Darline Augustine, 2013. "Gender Equality in Employment in Africa: Empirical Analysis and Policy Implications," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 25(4), pages 400-420.
  • Handle: RePEc:adb:adbadr:2082
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