The contribution of African women to economic growth and development in post-colonial Africa : historical perspectives and policy implications
This paper draws on history, anthropology, and economics to examine the dynamics and extent of women's contribution to growth and economic development in post-colonial Africa. The paper investigates the paradox of increased female enrollment in education and the persistence of gender discrimination in labor force participation; it also considers the overwhelming importance of the informal economy in female economic activity. The first axis the paper studies is whether reducing educational gender gaps enhances growth in per capita gross domestic product and reduces female fertility rates and infant mortality. The question is, why would some African countries resist this pattern? The second axis examines agriculture and home production. Women's economic activities in the informal economy largely represent the commercialization of domestic skills and dependence on social networks. The shunting of female production to the informal sector in the male-dominated colonial economy is easy to understand, but why has the informal economy persisted where female production is concerned well beyond the colonial period? The paper attempts to explain these trajectories by using country case studies on Senegal, Botswana, and Kenya. Although women's contribution to growth and economic development seems to be positive and significant in predominantly Christian and mineral-rich economies, it is more constrained in pronounced Muslim dominated countries and agrarian economies. At the same time, impressive uniform growth in informal sector production in recent years suggests that occupational job segregation and gender inequality remain strong across the region, despite the apparent loosening of traditional norms and cultural beliefs, most notably illustrated by the reduction in educational gender gaps and increased female labor force participation rates.
|Date of creation:||01 Jul 2013|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: (202) 477-1234
Web page: http://www.worldbank.org/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Ainsworth, M., 1995. "The Impact of Female Schooling on Fertility and Contraceptive Use. A Study of Fourteen Sub-Saharan Countries," Papers 110, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
- Robert J. Barro, 1995.
"Inflation and Economic Growth,"
NBER Working Papers
5326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lagerlof, Nils-Petter, 2003. " Gender Equality and Long-Run Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 403-26, December.
- Esi Sutherland-Addy, 2008. "Gender Equity in Junior and Senior Secondary Education in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6500, September.
- Cooray, Arusha & Potrafke, Niklas, 2011.
"Gender inequality in education: Political institutions or culture and religion?,"
European Journal of Political Economy,
Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 268-280, June.
- Cooray, Arusha & Potrafke, Niklas, 2011. "Gender inequality in education: Political institutions or culture and religion?," Munich Reprints in Economics 20110, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Arusha Cooray & Niklas Potrafke, 2010. "Gender inequality in education: Political institutions or culture and religion?," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2010-01, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
- Baliamoune, Mina N., 2002. "Assessing the Impact of One Aspect of Globalization on Economic Growth in Africa," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
- Sascha O. Becker & Ludger Woessmann, 2008.
"Luther and the Girls: Religious Denomination and the Female Education Gap in Nineteenth-century Prussia,"
Scandinavian Journal of Economics,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(4), pages 777-805, December.
- Becker, Sascha O. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2008. "Luther and the girls: Religious denomination and the female education gap in nineteenth-century Prussia," Munich Reprints in Economics 20256, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Mina Baliamoune-Lutz & Mark McGillivray, 2009. "Does Gender Inequality Reduce Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa and Arab Countries?," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 21(2), pages 224-242.
- Sarah Baird & Craig McIntosh & Berk �zler, 2011.
"Cash or Condition? Evidence from a Cash Transfer Experiment,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1709-1753.
- Baird, Sarah & Mcintosh, Craig & Ozler, Berk, 2010. "Cash or condition ? evidence from a cash transfer experiment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5259, The World Bank.
- Spielmann, Christian & Busse, Matthias, 2005.
"Gender Inequality and Trade,"
Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Kiel 2005
8, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
- Stephen Knowles & Paula K. Lorgelly, 2002. "Are educational gender gaps a brake on economic development? Some cross-country empirical evidence," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(1), pages 118-149, January.
- World Bank, 2011. "World Development Indicators 2011," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2315, September.
- Berta Esteve-Volart, 2004. "Gender Discrimination and Growth: Theory and Evidence from India," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 42, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
- Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli & Claudia Olivetti, 2004. "Mothers and Sons: Preference Formation and Female Labor Force Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1249-1299, November.
- Seguino, Stephanie, 2000. "Gender Inequality and Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(7), pages 1211-1230, July.
- Seth W. Norton & Annette Tomal, 2009. "Religion and Female Educational Attainment," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(5), pages 961-986, 08.
- Damien Echevin & Fabrice Murtin, 2009. "What Determines Productivity in Senegal? Sectoral Disparities and the Dual Labour Market," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(10), pages 1707-1730.
- Hiranya Mukhopadhyay, 1999. "Trade liberalization in sub-Saharan Africa: stagnation or growth?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 825-835.
- Fontana, Marzia & Wood, Adrian, 2000. "Modeling the Effects of Trade on Women, at Work and at Home," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(7), pages 1173-1190, July.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6537. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.