Women Economic Empowerment in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Cross-National Analysis Using DHS Data

Eunice M. Williams, University of Southampton
Heini E. Vaisanen, University of Southampton
Sabu S. Padmadas, University of Southampton

The fifth UN Sustainable Development Goal calls for greater investment and focus on women’s empowerment, underscoring the weight of women economic empowerment (WEE) in achieving inclusive growth. Increased investments in higher educational attainment and employment of women and girls will earn Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) a huge gender dividend. Harnessing the synergy between the SDGs and the gender dividend provides an impetus for achieving WEE. No research to-date has compared the extent of WEE in SSA. This research shows multi-country comparison of WEE scores and typologies using DHS in 33 countries. Results show a considerable variation in the distribution of WEE scores across SSA. Five country typologies of WEE are identified: household level empowerment driven by education; household level empowerment driven by land ownership, individual level empowerment driven by high employment rates, minimal level economic empowerment, and economically un-empowered. This is timely evidence for the increasing rhetoric on achieving WEE.

See paper.

  Presented in Session 78. Gender Dividend