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Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2023-03-30) Ajayi, Kehinde ; Das, Smita ; Delavallade, Clara ; Ketema, Tigist Assefa ; Rouanet, LéaEvidence on gender-specific returns to socio-emotional skills in developing economies is lacking. To inform the selection of socio-emotional skills in policy design, a new study mobilizing data from 17 African countries with 41,873 respondents examines gender differences in ten self-reported socio-emotional skills and their relationship with education and earnings. Evidence from the existing literature shows that socio-emotional skills positively influence labor market outcomes. Findings from our sample suggest that women in Sub-Saharan Africa could benefit from training programs designed to improve their socio-emotional skills, as women earn on average 54 percent less than men and report lower levels of socio-emotional skills. Educational attainment, which likely contributes to the increase of socioemotional skills for both men and women, might not be enough to eliminate gender differences in socio-emotional skills, since even among the most educated individuals, women still have lower levels of socio-emotional skills than men. Research on the relationship between socio-emotional skills and labor market outcomes should be deepened to improve the design of future programs teaching socio-emotional skills in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our results suggest that public interventions seeking to equip women with interpersonal skills (e.g., teamwork, expressiveness, and interpersonal relatedness) may provide an effective pathway to reduce gender disparities in the labor market.
Finding the Time and Labor to Farm: How Social Dynamics Drive Gender Differences in Agricultural Labor in Southern Nigeria(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2023-03-28) Friedson-Ridenour, Sophia ; Gonzalez, Paula ; Pierotti, Rachael S. ; Olayiwola, Olubukola ; Delavallade, ClaraAcross Sub-Saharan Africa smallholder farmers depend heavily on manual labor supplied by their households, families, and communities, but women are particularly labor constrained. This research paired a detailed quantitative examination of patterns of gender difference in the allocation of time and agricultural labor with an in-depth qualitative examination of how people explain those patterns. The descriptive findings and resulting conceptual framework can be used to guide future programming and research. In southwestern Nigeria, married women’s time and agricultural labor constraints are rooted in common social expectations that men’s farm plots take priority and that a woman’s own farming should not interfere with the agricultural production managed by her husband. Women access lower quantity and quality of labor because of off-farm commitments, and time constraints around when in the day and when in the season labor is allocated to their farm plots. Overcoming agricultural labor constraints for women farmers, especially married women, may require reimagining the role of women and men’s farms in the household. Several new Africa gender innovation lab studies suggest avenues for future innovations to support women producers.
Publication(Washington, DC, 2022-09) World BankAcross Africa, agriculture is a primary sector of employment, and African women provide about 40 percent of the agricultural labor across the continent. Yet women farmers face systemic barriers to success, leading to large gender gaps in agricultural productivity that range from 23 percent in Tanzania to 66 percent in Niger. These gender gaps not only represent major untapped economic potential but could also yield sizable gains for African economies if they were closed. For instance, in Nigeria, closing the gender productivity gap in agriculture could boost gross domestic product by an estimated US2.3 billion dollars and potentially as much as US8.1 billion dollars due to spillovers to other economic sectors. Several factors driving female farmers’ lower productivity are the time and bandwidth taxes from care and household responsibilities, limited access to and control of hired labor and other productive inputs, skills and information gaps, low financial liquidity, and restrictive social norms. Over 90 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s extreme poor, who are some of the most vulnerable to shocks, are engaged in agriculture. In the face of crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and global price shocks, that can exacerbate food insecurity, women farmers need targeted support and access to productive inputs that can secure their livelihoods and mitigate existing gender inequalities. Impact evaluation evidence from the Africa Gender Innovation Lab points toward policy solutions that can address many of these constraints and help women farmers reach their full potential.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-09) Brudevold-Newman, Andrew ; Buehren, Niklas ; Gebremedhin, Roman Tesfaye ; Hailemicheal, Adiam Hagos ; Ketema, Tigist AssefaWomen in Ethiopia bear a disproportionate burden of childcare responsibilities, spending approximately eight times the amount of time that men do on childcare. Childcare duties, while critical to the development of the child, could be holding back the earning potential of women and households, ultimately diminishing household income and poverty reduction efforts. In a study in the Amhara region, we explore the demand for and social norms around external childcare services through a pilot intervention within the context of the Ethiopia Productive Safety Nets Program (PSNP). We find that the demand for childcare centers in rural areas is high, and the perceptions around external childcare services are favorable. More than 95 percent of potential beneficiary households expressed an interest in sending their children to childcare centers and anticipated sending their children for 4.6 days/week on average. The objective of the study was to generate rigorous evidence on the impactsof providing rural childcare through the PSNP on individual and household outcomes.While the intervention and associated impact evaluation were suspended due to theconflict in Northern Ethiopia, the study provided valuable lessons on the demand for and social norms around external childcare services from a pre-program survey of 2,250 households in the study region and administrative attendance data on program use from the first months of implementation.