Gender and Development in Africa

Looking at the Millennium Development Goals set by the UN, three out of the eight goals are related to empowering women. After reading several studies relating to gender equality and women’s empowerment, I have come to understand that investment in women education is the first step in achieving these goals. Education can play a big role in contributing to the wellbeing of a society by improving the productive capabilities of the labor force; this has positive implications for the National GDP. Women in developing countries are economically disadvantaged because of their limited access to education, which affects their participation in economic activities. After reading Amartya Sen’s book “Development as Freedom,” I learned a lot about the role of women in achieving sustainable development. Empowering women through education prompts economic growth and consequently leads to development, mitigating conflicts in different parts of the world. Similarly, the human capital model emphasizes the importance of education for an individual’s productivity, as well as its impact for economic output. I have read several studies that demonstrate the significance of female education in promoting economic growth in Africa. The main question is how to address these issues to the African continent. The first step is for women in Africa to understand their value in the economy and to acknowledge the importance of education. Most importantly, African governments are responsible for addressing the issue of gender inequality and are also responsible for empowering women by making education both accessible and affordable.
It is crucial to understand that half of the African population is comprised of women who are underrepresented in the country’s economy. The continent’s development is deprived of the economic value that this “missing” demographic could contribute to the labor force. We have to continue explore ways to address African countries to develop policies that could foster female education. In this capitalist society, the different groups of economic stakeholders often oppress women. Therefore, it is critical that women are empowered so they can have equal economic, social and political opportunities that will undoubtedly improve Africa’s economy.