The importance of a female figure has always been vital in a large number of families. This is a role that if absent is felt tremendously by the children and those that need specific care and nurture in the family. In South Africa, almost 40% of households are headed by women. The odds of becoming prosperous stand against these women from the start.
Research shows that female-headed homes are further likely to be poorer than households led by males or both parents. Although research continuously shows that women remain marginalized there is little to no change that is being implemented to improve the living conditions and opportunities of women. Prevailing socioeconomic conditions such as lack of education, unemployment, and discrimination stand against women prevailing in life not only as individuals but furthermore-as caretakers.
I still recall the lessons from my Economic Development class around the importance of policy change and how that can change the economy. By making efforts to enhance the life of a woman, you unconsciously unlock and break chains of chronic poverty. The opportunity cost of educating a woman has been proven to outweigh those of educating a man. An educated woman knows to look out for the financial and social well-being of her family and is likely to pass that down to her children.
In today’s world, we are now fighting for more than educating a girl child, the fight is for access to job opportunities and access to other socioeconomic levers. StatsSa recently released an inequality report that shows that men who have the same skills set and experience as their counterparts continue to earn at least double of what women earn. Altogether the findings of the article show that although there has been a marginal improvement in decreasing inequality, women remain at the bottom of the barrel.
Throughout the years, women have shown resilience and strength in the many achievements they have attained to improve themselves and those that are around them. The agenda for Sustainable Development picks up where the Millennium Development goals left off with regards to efforts being enforced to eliminate inequality and promote economic empowerment.
The rights of women need to be realized to increase the economic empowerment of women. The inclusion and representation of women in the economy have a positive effect on the growth of the economy, thus it is essential to prioritize. Increasing the representation of women in the economy can narrow the gender gap in the economy. An insights report by Price Water Coopers in 2018 showed that increased employment rates of women in OECD countries could generate an increased economic growth of USD 6 trillion.
The inclusion of women in the economy is beneficial both at an individual and macroeconomic level. It is valuable for the overall production of businesses and the economy in its entirety. Although it may not be explicit in the beginning stages, this course could result in an improvement in economic development and economic growth since they are complementary.
By Keamogetse Keepile