March 20-21, 2018 – PEP Executive Director, Prof Jane Mariara presented findings at the 2018 Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) Conference on Economic Development in Africa. The conference, which brought together delegates and speakers from many international donor organisations, NGOs, and academic and research institutions, took place in Oxford, the United Kingdom.
Prof Mariara first presented “The causal effect of early fertility and marriage on education and employment among young women in Kenya” during a parallel session focused on Households and Social Networks.
She explained that young women who marry and/or have children before the age of 18 are up to 10% more likely to have no secondary education than women who marry/have children later. Additionally, the more children a woman has, the less likely she is to work.
Following the presentation, the discussion pointed to the difficulties of disentangling the complex relationship between early fertility, early marriage, education and employment, and how these factors condition youth labour market transitions.
School-to-work transition a key challenge for gender gaps
On March 21, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada hosted a workshop, following the main CSAE conference, to present findings from the Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) program on lessons for women’s economic empowerment in sub-Saharan Africa.
Prof Mariara made the first presentation of the day looking at Labour Markets and Women’s Empowerment in Africa.
During her presentation on “Gender gaps in the path to adulthood for young females and males in six African countries from the 1990s to the 2010s” she explained that the school to work transition has been identified as a key challenge.
The study finds that despite improvements over time for most of the education and work outcomes investigated, the gender gap only reduced in terms of education. She explained that marriage and children have a much more limiting impact on women than on men.
The presentation was well received. The main discussant noted the importance of documenting trends andgender gapsin different countries, and the even greater importance of documenting what should be done about these gaps. A participant raised the question of whether there is adequate information on households where youth live. In particular, how does the asset base of such households shape their outcomes and, therefore, contribute to the gaps?
Investigating women's school-to-work transitions in sub-Saharan Africa
The findings discussed during both presentations come from a Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) project. The project, “Women's Early Labour Market Transitions in Sub-Saharan Africa,” looks at the factors that affect young women's transitions from school to work in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. It is one of 14 GrOW projects that aims to provide solid evidence on ways to tackle the barriers that hold women back from participating equally in the labour market.