Launched on March 8, 2021, SheWorks Africa is Kuvora’s initiative to get African women into sustainable jobs, bridge gender gaps and help build resilience against economic shocks. Our various projects and programs give women across Africa, the capacity to take ownership of their economic and career growth whilst improving the quality of human capital and contributing to African economies.
One reason why there are few women in the workforce is the fact that women lack information about the job opportunities available for females. In addition, gender dominance in professions is largely due to socio-cultural norms and stereotypes held by both men and women, particularly in Africa. Expectations are often related to the role that the sexes fulfil in the culture. As a result, women are typically less educated and have a mismatch between the skills they possess and the demands of the labour market.
For women that want to work outside the home but don’t, this could sometimes be due to feelings of inadequacy, not feeling qualified for the jobs they truly want and for concerns around work demands. While these are strong reasons, we find many instances of women who have proven to be high performers in seemingly intellectually demanding fields, successfully creating a balance between their work and personal lives. Jobs, primarily requiring talent and skills, are not restricted to any particular gender.
The Kuvora team started building SheWorks as our social impact initiative in mid 2020, with the purpose of helping women get into jobs. Over time, as the team delved deeper into this world of misrepresented numbers of women in the workforce and the pandemic raged on, another more pressing problem revealed itself. More women were negatively impacted by COVID-19 than men. Women are working less, earning less, and having to carry higher proportions of burdens - managing online schooling for children and sick family members.
At least 2 million women are considering leaving the workforce due to the pandemic. More women, especially mothers, complain of being stressed, burnt out, dealing with caregiving responsibilities while working, compared to fathers and men. Mothers without a spouse or partner have it worse juggling caregiving and work during the pandemic, making financial security a top concern for them.
In helping women get jobs, SheWorks raises women’s earnings, helping them earn additional income to support their families; increases the rate of female employment through job placements and investing in businesses which will eventually employ others; promotes economic growth at the macro level through cross border jobs which will generate foreign exchange earnings; improves the quality of human capital by upskilling women who will produce work at par with international standards and provides support to women through financial support for business and mentorship.
Through our various partnerships, we will work to help African women elevate their businesses and career outlook.