Solid gender equality progress

At the current pace, Africa would need close to 142 years to achieve gender equality, a report says.

02 December 2019 | Local News

Namibia has been identified as one of the leading countries in Africa that have achieved solid progress towards gender equality.

According to a recent McKinsey report, women account for more than 50% of Africa's combined population, but contributed only 33% of the continent's collective gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018.

This is due to poor progress on gender equality in the region since 2015, the report said.

The continent's gender parity score (GPS) has remained stagnant since 2015 at 0.58, indicating high gender disparity between 2015 and 2019.

The score assigned by McKinsey gender index is based on 15 indicators of progress covering gender equality at work, society, legal protection, political voice, physical security and autonomy.

At the current pace, the continent would need close to 142 years to achieve gender equality, says the report.

The continent will add US$316 billion or 10% to its current GDP by 2025 if it plans to continue without improving gender disparity.

In contrast, if Africa fixes the gap in the labour market, the continent could add US$1 trillion to its collective GDP by 2025, says the report.

South Africa has the highest GPS in Africa at 0.76, indicating medium gender inequality, followed by Namibia at 0.72.

Mauritania, Mali, and Niger have the lowest scores at 0.46, 0.46, and 0.45, respectively, which highlight extremely high gender inequality.

“Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, and Zimbabwe have achieved solid progress towards parity in both work and society with higher a GPS on education, more equal participation in professional and technical jobs, and above-average progress towards parity on most societal indicators,” says the report.

It further points out that Africa's female labour participation rate of 0.76 (medium gender inequality) is close to the global average of 0.64 (high gender inequality).

Namibia is, however, identified as the African country that is the most women in the workplace, with a female participation score of 0.69. South Africa follows with a score of 0.63 and Swaziland with 0.62. Algeria, Mali and Burkina Faso are amongst the 14 countries that are most unfair to women at work.

Low education for women is one of the major reasons for the gender gap, says the report.

Africa's female-to-male ratio of 0.76 on education is the lowest GPS of any region in the world. Namibia's female-to-male ratio on education stands at one, which together with Botswana and Lesotho is the highest in Africa.

The report lauds Namibia for trying to improve women's education.

“Namibia, whose government has been working to improve the status of women for nearly 30 years, has achieved gender parity on education.”

Gender equality is one of 17 global goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. With just 10 years left to achieve gender equality in terms of the United Nation's target of 2030, the report is an urgent call for empowering women through effective policy interventions.

ELLANIE SMIT

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