What does economic empowerment mean for women in Africa today?
The promise of women’s economic empowerment in Africa always creates a buzz, and for good reason. Women face high barriers to entry across myriad sectors, leading to a gulf of unfulfilled potential across the continent. Closing this gap could have huge implications, not only for gender equality, but also economic prosperity. McKinsey estimate that closing this gender gap could add $12 trillion to global growth by 2025.
This vast untapped capacity is partly why governments and corporations are attempting to empower women in business. This includes addressing imbalances in access to savings, credit and insurance and understanding how women use these services. Moreover, as the technological revolution becomes increasingly central to African economies, narrowing the gendered digital divide is becoming an urgent necessity. At the moment, just a quarter of the continent’s internet users are women.
Questions remain not just around how to solve these complex problems, but as to where solving them leaves us. Does an approach focussed on employment take into account the huge expenditure of labour exercised daily by women in the care economy? Will women’s economic empowerment necessarily lead to social, political and cultural empowerment? And will the extra national growth driven by the inclusion of more female workers in Africa actually improve their lives? Join us to debate these questions with a panel of guest speakers:
Photo: Women's World Banking, Uganda
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