August 6, 2018 - PEP Executive Director, Prof. Jane Mariara, spoke about women’s early labour market transitions at an IDRC Indaba in Nairobi, Kenya. The event focused on gender transformative research and was structured around storytelling, following a journey from girlhood to womanhood. The aim of the event was to reveal how research can make a difference at different stages of a person’s (woman’s) life.
Prof. Mariara shared findings from a GrOW-IDRC project looking at What limits women's ability to become financially self-sufficient from an early age in Africa? She spoke about how transitioning from school to work can be a struggle for young girls and the kinds of support they need.
Shared through the medium of a short story, Prof. Mariara highlighted key challenges that young African women face, as identified through the research project. These include poverty, responsibility for taking care of family members, early pregnancy and marriage, and limited education/educational prospects. The story underlined how particular deprivations or hardships such as poverty can lead to difficulties in other areas, such as education and personal relationships.
Prof. Mariara then discussed ways of addressing these challenges. Solutions included incentives to keep young women in school, enforcement of laws prohibiting child labour and child marriage, reducing the burden of care to improve education and employment outcomes, and provision of start-up capital for small businesses.
Attendees of the Indaba included the Canadian High Commissioner to Kenya, guests from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, IDRC grantees, and IDRC staff.
The IDRC-funded gender transformative research featured at this event supports the implementation of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, which PEP is also supporting. The project Prof. Mariara presented is part of the Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) program that is jointly funded by the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), Hewlett Foundation, and Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC).
IDRC Indabas are held periodically at the regional office. They provide spaces to share and reflect informally and with intention about serious issues.