Investment in Women is a Catalyst for Community Transformation 

Investment in Women is a Catalyst for Community Transformation 

As we commemorate the remarkable contributions of women to Africa’s economic development this month, I am filled with excitement and hope for the progressive realization system that leads to a World where we can all achieve impact through investing and empowering women.  

My enthusiasm is fueled by my involvement in the “EFE” project under the Technovation Changemaker Award last year. This program stands as the world’s largest Tech education initiative, headquartered in California but extending its reach to approximately 115 countries.  

The program empowers girls aged 8 to 18 to tackle challenges using mobile applications, securing USD 5000 for its implementation. At the core of “EFE” is the principle of investing in women, aiming to address the gendered division of labor and unlock the economic potential of women in rural areas. Notably, my own mother was among the first beneficiaries of this transformative project.  

Today, we stand at a significant juncture in history where women worldwide are vigorously shaping the various facets of the future. Through their resilience, creativity, and leadership, they are actively driving progress forward. Their influence resonates across all sectors, spanning from employment to entrepreneurship and leadership, as they pave the way toward a more prosperous and inclusive future for all. 

Employment for instance stands as a cornerstone of economic empowerment, and African women are playing a pivotal role. Despite persistent gender gaps, women’s participation in the labor force has been steadily increasing. Recent data shows promising signs of progress, with the labor-force participation rate for women reaching 64% in 2023, showcasing a modest but meaningful advancement towards gender parity. 

Entrepreneurship is another arena where African women are breaking barriers and driving change. For instance, Sub-Saharan Africa has the world’s highest rate of women involved in entrepreneurial activity, with countries like Botswana, South Africa, and Ghana actively supporting female-owned businesses. These women entrepreneurs are not only creating economic opportunities for themselves but also driving innovation and transforming their communities. 

More still, women continue to rise to leadership positions in politics, business, and community organizations, bringing with them fresh perspectives and driving positive change. Africa leads globally with 25% female representation on boards and 22% on executive committees, illustrating the growing influence and impact of women in decision-making roles according to International Labor Organization. 

However, amidst these achievements, significant challenges persist.  

The gendered division of labor is a pressing issue that disproportionately affects women, particularly in rural communities. It confines them to domestic spaces, undervaluing their skills, knowledge, and contributions. This systemic inequality not only hinders their economic independence but also exposes them to heightened vulnerability, including gender-based violence and limited access to essential resources and opportunities. 

According to the National Household Survey (UNHS) 2016/2017, women constitute approximately 51% of Uganda’s rural population, yet they earn significantly less than men and spend a disproportionate amount of time on unpaid care and domestic work. This imbalance perpetuates harmful gender stereotypes, restricts women’s participation in the workforce, and undermines their overall economic empowerment. 

Also, discriminatory norms and limited access to capital continue to hinder progress towards gender equality. 

To increase women participation in all verticles of the economy, it is imperative that we address these barriers head-on and create an environment where women have equal opportunities to thrive. Empowering women through education, training, and providing them with access to resources and support is crucial for unlocking their full potential and driving economic development across Africa. 

I believe projects like EFE are instrumental in realizing this vision of empowerment. By providing women with the technical and financial resources, knowledge, and support needed to become independent and fully sustainable, we not only uplift them as individual women but also catalyze broader social and economic transformation. Reduced dependency levels and increased economic participation among women have far-reaching benefits for society, breaking down barriers, challenging norms, and fostering a more equitable and prosperous future for all. 

By Sabrina Atwiine

Manager Product, Freelancer Lounge at Innovation Village