Women entrepreneurs continue to experience a high financial gap, less support and lower profits than their male counterparts. According to publicly available research, women entrepreneurs across sub-Saharan Africa continue to earn lower profits than men (34% less on average).
To address these, most organisations and countries have recognised the need to target the underlying social norms and constraints that hold African women back, prominent among them the uneven burden of childcare and domestic responsibilities, and drive the push for women in more profitable sectors.
Earlier in March, the CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, joined a high-level virtual panel organised by TEF Partners, German development agency (GIZ), to discuss the[NO1] [AN2] economic and social effects of the pandemic and opportunities to close the digital gender divide while empowering female African entrepreneurs.
“We all know that when you empower a woman, you empower a nation. We all know that the African woman is a major pillar in achieving the economic development of Africa,” said Ifeyinwa at the event.
She explained how the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme prioritised achieving gender inclusivity as a part of its mission since the start of the programme in 2015. Having funded about 3000 women since the start of the programme, this year, the Foundation is working with the European Union, to train, fund, and mentor at least 3000 women for 2021 alone.
The lack of female leaders and representation in top roles are some of the barriers which hinder women from accessing these positions and creating the space for women to lead at the forefront of various sectors in business can inspire the change we want to see on the continent, triggering economic empowerment in a sustainable, gender-inclusive format.
However, this task isn’t only up to one person or organisation, and the role of the public-private sector is critical in achieving this goal. Women’s economic empowerment requires support at a national and international level, and strategies that improve access to healthcare, working conditions and finances.