In an increasingly interconnected world, the rise in technology-based businesses is playing a crucial role in narrowing the gender gap and pushing female entrepreneurship forward. As national economies face stiff competition for specialist market skills and resources, a number of startups are drawing international interest. There are also a number of global initiatives supporting and propelling female-run businesses on the continent. Speaking at SheMeansBusiness, an initiative designed to empower female entrepreneurs across Nigeria, Facebook’s policy programmes head in Africa, Sherry Dzinoreva, said that the company would be intensifying its female entrepreneurship training. But despite the launch of such initiatives there are still a number of challenges women need to overcome. Across Africa, women are prevented from pursuing a career in business through overt and hidden discriminatory practices. In sub-Saharan Africa, at least 40% of the labour force is female, according to the Pew Research Centre. However, 74% of women’s non-agricultural employment is informal, in contrast with 61% for men. In the private sector, African women hold 23% of positions at executive committee level and just 5% of CEO-level jobs, according to McKinsey. Access to capital and exclusion from male dominated business networks constrain women’s participation in business.
SOURCES: AFRICAN BUSINESS MAGAZINE