Week 12: Women

Women are often marginalized in the workforce in sub-Saharan Africa.  Most the time it stems from tribal and rural societies using part tribal customs and part common law.  Part of the problem is also education.  Many families in sub-Saharan Africa do not see it necessary for women to go to school.  This is also more prevalent in countries were women are being sold.  Rural women in Africa are dependent on males due to traditional gender roles that define division of labor, therefore are subordinate socially, economically, and politically.

In Kenya, women work on domestic duties aw well as the majority of agriculture cultivation .

  • Agriculture accounts for 70 percent of labor force
  • Women make up 75 percent of agriculture work force

Women own the crops they cultivate, but are not owners of the land.  Modernization and globalization has amplified the marginalization of female rural agricultural workers in Kenya.  Multi-national corporations have utilized Kenya’s arable land for cash crop farms, that have negatively affected rural women workers.  This has caused men to migrate to work in urban areas or commercialized crop factories, leaving women to tend to the agricultural duties on land technically owned by their husbands with no legal protection.

The IMF official is hardly the only person to automatically file women under micro – Gayle Tzemach Lemmon during TED talk

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon argues that women should not just get micro-loans.  Women should be running all types of firms, from home businesses to major factories.  This is a key to economic development, which in turn will contribute positively to making the situation of marginalization better.

Education is also another way to improve the situation of marginalization.  A major obstacle with education, especially in Kenya recently, is terrorism of education facilitates.  Recently in the news 147 people died in a university attack.  Changes to security to allow for education to take place will go a long way in positively contributing to the problem.

I do believe micro-loans will help will self-sufficiency of women in the workforce.  Organizations such as KIVA work to provide micro loans to women in sub-Saharan Africa.  Below is a video how KIVA works.

Using the example of Kenya women agricultural workforce, micro-loans can help set up business for the crops they harvest, since they have the rights to the crops they cultivate.  Although the women do not own the land, if the husband is working in urban areas and the wife has a agriculture business, this will help move the family out of the poverty trap.

Another reason why women are being marginalized is because of women and HIV/AIDS.  In Zambia, an organization called GlobalGiving helps provide micro-loans for women impacted by HIV/AIDS.  The project provides business training, micro loans, business monitoring and counseling to 100 poor women entrepreneurs for a period of one year in Zambia. The long term impact is to empower women in effort to strenghten communities.  GlobalGiving expects higher attendance in school via better health and nutrition of the children, a lower rate of HIV infection via better education, & a higher number of people with income generating skills in the community.

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