Women and girls are Africa’s hope and future. They can unlock the continent’s economic development and its ability to truly prosper. But all too often, they struggle to gain financial independence, as banks and investors fail to offer the required support.
Africa’s female community is also frequently held back by harmful practices, such as gender-based violence that can take the form of physical, psychological, sexual or economic violence, unequal access to food and social services, and forced marriages.
Economic Impact Of Gender-based Violence
For every 1% increase in the number of women subjected to gender-based violence, the International Monetary Fund estimates national economic activities to reduce by up to 8%. This impact is especially acute in countries where women are deprived of decision-making power.
Africa has one of the highest rates of gender-based violence in the world. At least 31% of women on the continent report of suffering violence from intimate partners at some point in their lifetime. One critical step to address this is to invest in women’s economic power.
Studies have shown that a lack of alternative means of economic support is one of the leading factors preventing the female community from fleeing violence. Helping women and girls become more economically independent, therefore, can offer them an escape route.
We Must Unite To End Violence Against Women
Finance leaders must do more to foster an environment where women-led businesses thrive. African women are incredibly entrepreneurial, with 26% of all women in Sub-Saharan Africa in the process of starting or managing a business, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor says.
Running from November 25 to December 10, the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence awareness campaign shines a spotlight on the tremendous economic impact of gender-based violence and the notable benefits of investing to address it.