Gender has proved to be a key element in influencing decision making among other key things. Based on this, world organisations like the United Nations and Oxfam International have pushed forward the agenda of women emancipation across the world. Women emancipation has stretched out from the areas of service provision and delivery in public sector to the private sector with women serving in various capacities and heavily getting involved in economic production.
Countries in Sub Saharan Africa currently have high fertility rates coupled with a high level of adolescent birth rate. Fast rising population growth rate in COMESA Member States is one other challenge that is looming and hindering development in some Member States. High fertility rates among women coupled with increasing cases of adolescent child births have contributed the fast rising population of children below 20 years and consequently increased dependency burden.
Women participation in agriculture over the years has been improving as the demand for food to sustain households keeps on increasing. For instance,
Another important issue regarding gender has been that of women labour participation rate in a country. Recent developments have shown that women offer extensive labour services to different sectors of the economy ranging from the public service to the private sector. Women share in the total labour force was 2% higher in 2016 than it was 10 years ago in 2006. 5 out of the 19 COMESA Member States had over 80% share of the total labour force for women with Egypt and Libya having the least share of women in the total labour force.
To achieve the development targets of COMESA, Member countries have to pay attention to issues related to gender and in particular enhancing on the capacity of women in all in areas from knowledge acquisition and production capacity to service delivery. This is because women have proved to play a significant role in social and economic development.
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