By Anayo Ezugwu
IN celebration of International Women’s Day, PricewaterhouseCoopers, PwC Nigeria, has praised Nigerian women’s involvement in the economic development of the country. PwC said the entrepreneurial spirit of Nigerian women is strong as well as their participation and representation in the private and public sectors.
In its latest report titled: Impact of Women on Nigeria’s economy, PwC Nigeria said Nigerian women account for 41 percent ownership of micro-businesses in the country with 23 million female entrepreneurs operating within this segment. According to the report, this places Nigeria among the highest entrepreneurship rates globally.
The report stated that the high-level participation of female entrepreneurs in the country is, however, often driven mainly by necessity, which is the norm in emerging markets where there is insufficient formal employment. “In the formal sector, very important results are emerging. At the lower levels in formal employment, there is almost an even 50-50 split in the workplace between men and women. However, as both sexes climb up the corporate ladder, women begin to decline in representation on the senior leadership teams and at the board level,” it said.
According to PwC report, empowering women in the economy and closing gender gaps in the world of work are key to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 5, to achieve gender equality, and Goal 8, to promote full and productive employment and decent work for all; also Goal 1 on ending poverty, Goal 2 on food security, Goal 3 on ensuring health and Goal 10 on reducing inequalities.
“When more women work, economies grow. Women’s economic empowerment boosts productivity, increases economic diversification and income equality in addition to other positive development outcomes. For example, increasing the female employment rates in OECD countries to match that of Sweden could boost GDP by over US$6 trillion, recognizing, however, that growth does not automatically lead to a reduction in gender-based inequality. Conversely, it is estimated that gender gaps cost the economy some 15 percent of GDP.
“Increasing women’s and girls’ educational attainment contributes to women’s economic empowerment and more inclusive economic growth. Increased educational attainment accounts for about 50 percent of the economic growth in OECD countries over the past 50 years. But, for the majority of women, significant gains in education have not translated into better labour market outcomes.
“Women are more likely to be unemployed than men. In 2017, global unemployment rates for men and women stood at 5.5 percent and 6.2 percent respectively. This is projected to remain relatively unchanged going into 2018 and through 2021. Women are over-represented in informal and vulnerable employment. From the latest available data, the share of women in informal employment in developing countries was 4.6 percentage points higher than that of men, when including agricultural workers.
“Globally, women are paid less than men. The gender wage gap is estimated to be 23 percent. This means that women earn 77 percent of what men earn, though these figures understate the real extent of gender pay gaps, particularly in developing countries where informal self-employment is prevalent. Women also face the motherhood wage penalty, which increases as the number of children a woman has increased,” it stated.
According to the report, women bear disproportionate responsibility for unpaid care and domestic work. Women tend to spend around 2.5 times more time on unpaid care and domestic work than men. The amount of time devoted to unpaid care work is negatively correlated with female labour force participation. Unpaid care work is essential to the functioning of the economy but often goes uncounted and unrecognized. It is estimated that if women’s unpaid work were assigned a monetary value, it would constitute between 10 percent and 39 percent of GDP.
“Women are still less likely to have access to social protection. Gender inequalities in employment and job quality result in gender gaps in access to social protection acquired through employment, such as pensions, unemployment benefits or maternity protection. Globally, an estimated nearly 40 percent of women in wage employment do not have access to social protection.
“Women are less likely than men to have access to financial institutions or have a bank account. While 65 percent of men report having an account at a formal financial institution, only 58 percent of women do worldwide. The digital divide remains a gendered one: most of the 3.9 billion people who are offline are in rural areas, poorer, less educated and tend to be women and girls.
“Women are less likely to be entrepreneurs and face more disadvantages starting businesses: In 40 percent of economies, women’s early-stage entrepreneurial activity is half or less than half of that of men’s. Violence and harassment in the world of work affect women regardless of age, location, income or social status. The economic costs – a reflection of the human and social costs – to the global economy of discriminatory social institutions and violence against women are estimated to be approximately US$12 trillion annually.”
– Mar. 20, 2020 @ 14:55 GMT |