Releasing its annual report on gender equality in Africa, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) noted that the high economic disparity between men and women in Africa can be attributed to fewer economic opportunities for women on the continent.
The report shows that sub-Saharan Africa’s economies lose a combined average of US$95 billion a year simply because women have fewer job opportunities than men. Gender inequality the report said was promoted by deeply-rooted structural obstacles such as unequal distribution of resources and political power.
Despite the share of women in the labor force remaining around 61 percent in Africa, they are often underpaid and have to depend on the informal sector for survival. “Women’s empowerment and gender equality are the silver bullets in development, because if you can ensure that the female half of the population is able to participate equally and make their full contribution, you are really going to accelerate development and that’s the message of the Human Development report. That African development will speed up faster if gender equality is achieved;” said Helen Clark, the UNDP administrator while releasing the report in Kenya last week.
The United Nations development program calls for the continent to take proper measures by ensuring that all women have access to education. It further said that women should be subjected to promotions at work giving an example of Rwanda that has adhered to gender equality.