Feminist employment policy: women, structural change and labour markets in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) and Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) regions

Labour markets and employment creation are a continuous and massive challenge in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) regions. For women in particular, the employment situation in the two regions is extremely difficult, ranking last (MENA) and third last (SSA) in the regional comparison of the Global Gender Gap Report. At the same time, structural change provides opportunities in new economic sectors, especially in the areas of digitalisation and the green economy. The project therefore investigates which growth sectors create decent jobs for women and how labour market barriers for women can be specifically addressed.

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Time frame:
2022 - 2024 / ongoing

Project description

The employment situation for women is in both regions extremely difficult but evident in different ways. While in the MENA region the employment rate for women is extremely low despite rising educational attainment, women in Sub-Sahara Africa are often denied access to education and mostly work in informal and vulnerable employment in the low-wage sector.

This project aims to identify the structural obstacles to female job creation in growth sectors and to derive policy approaches to reduce them, while investing in the active promotion of women. Due to the different economic situation and structures in both regions, the project will also investigate which approaches to feminist employment policy can be applied in different contexts.

The focus is on the following core questions:

1. Which specific labour market barriers exist for women? How can they be reduced?

Which framework conditions (e.g. with regard to empowerment, care work, mobility, social acceptance) need to change in order to integrate women more strongly into the labour market? Where should existing development cooperation measures be refined to improve the employment situation of women? Which concrete approaches are available within the framework of a feminist development policy to design projects with a dedicated gender-transformative approach?

2. Which new employment opportunities for women emerge in the context of ongoing structural change in the two regions?

How can female employment in the MENA and SSA regions be better supported by international development cooperation, benefitting from recent trends in structural change? The areas of digitalization and green economy will be addressed in particular.