Female Economic Participation and Economic Growth: An Empirical Evaluation of the Nexus for sub-Saharan African Region
Keywords:Female Labour Force Participation, Economic Growth, sub-Saharan Africa, Female Economic Participation
More recently, there has been increasing recognition of gender perspective to achieve economic growth and sustainable development. Although the nexus between gender equality and economic growth has enjoyed sizeable consideration in the literature, empirical evaluation of the economic growth effect of female economic participation is few. Hence, this study seeks to examine the relationship between female economic participation and the economic growth process of the sub-Saharan African region. In particular, the study tests whether there is an economic growth premium due to female participation in economic activities using data for a sample of 35 sub-Saharan African economies. Employing the Prais-Winsten regression, the findings suggest the existence of a significant positive effect of female economic participation on economic growth in the region. Specifically, a per cent increase in female employment rate and female labour force participation leads to a 0.028 per cent and 0.021 per cent increase in economic growth. Also, the share of working population, domestic credit to the private sector and urbanization rate are positively correlated with economic growth during the study period. The findings imply that female economic empowerment is important for achieving economic growth in the region; hence empowerment of women and girls should be made focal in national and regional development plans as stipulated in goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) plan.
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