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How much of the labor in African agriculture is provided by women? ☆

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ABSTRACT

The contribution of women to labor in African agriculture is regularly quoted in the range of 60–80%. Using individual, plot-level labor input data from nationally representative household surveys across six Sub-Saharan African countries, this study estimates the average female labor share in crop production at 40%. It is slightly above 50% in Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda, and substantially lower in Nigeria (37%), Ethiopia (29%), and Niger (24%). There are no systematic differences across crops and activities, but female labor shares tend to be higher in households where women own a larger share of the land and when they are more educated. Controlling for the gender and knowledge profile of the respondents does not meaningfully change the predicted female labor shares. The findings question prevailing assertions regarding substantial gains in aggregate crop output as a result of increasing female agricultural productivity.

No MeSH data available.


Female share of agricultural labor (%) by country.
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f0005: Female share of agricultural labor (%) by country.

Mentions: The population-weighted average female share of labor in crop production across the six countries examined is 40% (Fig. 1). This is substantially less than in the much cited 1972 quote which holds that “Few persons would argue against the estimate that women are responsible for 60–80 [percent] of the agricultural labor supplied on the continent of Africa.” It is also somewhat lower than FAO’s (2011) estimate of about 50%, based on agricultural employment categories only (as opposed to time use).19 To be sure, even though the six countries represent 40% of SSA’s population and cover a wide variety of settings, they are not statistically representative for the continent either. At the same time, this overall headline number provides a useful antidote.


How much of the labor in African agriculture is provided by women? ☆
Female share of agricultural labor (%) by country.
© Copyright Policy - CC BY
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5384444&req=5

f0005: Female share of agricultural labor (%) by country.
Mentions: The population-weighted average female share of labor in crop production across the six countries examined is 40% (Fig. 1). This is substantially less than in the much cited 1972 quote which holds that “Few persons would argue against the estimate that women are responsible for 60–80 [percent] of the agricultural labor supplied on the continent of Africa.” It is also somewhat lower than FAO’s (2011) estimate of about 50%, based on agricultural employment categories only (as opposed to time use).19 To be sure, even though the six countries represent 40% of SSA’s population and cover a wide variety of settings, they are not statistically representative for the continent either. At the same time, this overall headline number provides a useful antidote.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

The contribution of women to labor in African agriculture is regularly quoted in the range of 60–80%. Using individual, plot-level labor input data from nationally representative household surveys across six Sub-Saharan African countries, this study estimates the average female labor share in crop production at 40%. It is slightly above 50% in Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda, and substantially lower in Nigeria (37%), Ethiopia (29%), and Niger (24%). There are no systematic differences across crops and activities, but female labor shares tend to be higher in households where women own a larger share of the land and when they are more educated. Controlling for the gender and knowledge profile of the respondents does not meaningfully change the predicted female labor shares. The findings question prevailing assertions regarding substantial gains in aggregate crop output as a result of increasing female agricultural productivity.

No MeSH data available.