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AEC 2012 - Towards Inclusive African Labour Markets- Empirical Analysis of Gender Equality in Employment and its Implications for Policy


Thus, gender equality in employment is currently one of the greatest development challenges facing countries globally, including those in Africa. In 2011, male employment-to-population ratio, globally, was estimated at about 72.7% compared to female employment-to-population ratio of only 47.9%. For Africa as a whole, male employment-to-population ratio was estimated at about 69.2% compared to female employment-to-population ratio of only 39.2%. In addition to analyzing the characteristics of gender (in)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 all-Africa and SubSaharan African samples, quadratic levels of real per capita GDP, greater ICT infrastructure availability, increased democracy (and quadratic form), higher prices, greater openness, more secondary school education, and higher urban share of the population increase gender equality in employment while higher real GDP per capita, higher gross domestic investment, population growth rate, sex population ratio, international wars and conflicts, and being a net oil-exporting country tend to lower it. However, North Africa is different. Indeed, apart from negative and highly significant North African dummy in the overall results, the North African specific sample results indicate that while quadratic element of real GDP per capita, increased democracy, higher urban share of the population, and high population growth increase gender equality in employment, higher real GDP per capita, and ICT infrastructure tend to lower gender equality in employment. The policy implications and lessons of these results are discussed for countries, both in Sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa, taking cognizance of the differentiated determining factors. 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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