Gen­der in­equal­ity costs Africa US$95b

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

THE UN has urged African na­tions to close a gen­der gap that is cost­ing an es­ti­mated US$95 bil­lion a year in lost eco­nomic po­ten­tial.

“Where there are high lev­els of gen­der in­equal­ity, so­ci­eties are miss­ing out,” UN De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme (UNDP) di­rec­tor He­len Clark said.

“They are not har­ness­ing the full po­ten­tial of women, and that costs eco­nom­i­cally, at the fam­ily level, community level and na­tional level.”

Cit­ing agri­cul­ture as an ex­am­ple, Ms Clark said that in many African na­tions, women are banned from own­ing or in­her­it­ing land, mak­ing it hard for them to bor­row money.

“They then don’t have the fi­nance to buy the best seeds, the best fer­tilis­ers. So women, de­spite work­ing very, very hard, end up pro­duc­ing less, be­ing less pro­duc­tive,” she said.

Ms Clark, a former New Zealand prime min­is­ter, noted the progress made in some na­tions, in­clud­ing in Rwanda, where 65 per­cent of elected MPs are fe­male. –

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