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Gender Gap In Employment Impeding Poverty Reduction In Nigeria — World Bank

The report attributed the employment gap between males and females to social norms such as household responsibilities, beliefs that women should not be earning more than men, and women’s decision making capacity especially in the Northern part of Nigeria.

Gender inequality in Nigeria’s labour market could further constrain poverty reduction as findings show that women were less likely to be working than men with only 62.5 per cent of working-age women working compared to 75.9 per cent of their male counterparts.

Those working are usually underemployed with 17.3 per cent of women working less than 20 hours per week compared to 10.7 per cent of working men.

This was disclosed in the Nigerian Poverty Assessment 2022 carried out by the World Bank. The assessment looked at microdata for a detailed understanding of poverty reduction in Nigeria.

It also discovered that women usually end up working in less economically fruitful sectors, and this further constrains their earnings. 

The assessment gave instances of how women are twice as likely to work in education but that is the lowest paying wage employment sub sector in Nigeria.

The report attributed the employment gap between males and females to social norms such as household responsibilities, beliefs that women should not be earning more than men, and women’s decision making capacity especially in the Northern part of Nigeria.

Data of gender differences in labor market outcomes in Nigeria derived from the Nigerian Poverty Assessment. Graph: World Bank.

Findings further showed that generally, women were more likely to be financially vulnerable than men who are in the same age range with the same life experiences. Household responsibilities and things such as divorce, separation and being widowed leave females more prone to poverty.

Working not a pathway out of poverty in Nigeria 

Around one in five poor people in Sub-Saharan Africa live in Nigeria. According to the assessment, poverty in Nigeria is also an in-work phenomenon.

It revealed that the share of Nigerians working in 2018 to 2019 as per the Nigerian Living Standards Survey (NLSS), did not differ significantly across the various deciles of the consumption distribution.

This means that the majority of working age Nigerians in the bottom 40 per cent of the consumption expenditure were working. The assessment posits that working in just any job in Nigeria does not guarantee a pathway out of poverty.

The report also highlighted the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, conflict and economic inequality as reasons why poverty reduction in Nigeria is stagnant.


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Zubaida Baba Ibrahim

Zubaida Baba Ibrahim is a journalist and a creative writer. Her works have been featured on Daily Trust, Premium Times and Guardian. She also has experience in broadcast journalism and is a graduate of Mass Communication from Baze University, Abuja. She tweets through @zvbaida

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