In an endeavour to advance economic growth in developing nations, governments are using strategies focused on the economic empowerment of women.

Studies reveal that when women are economically enabled, countries experience growth in income generation, wealth creation and economic diversification. Therefore, African governments need to prioritise inclusive industrialisation where women and their male counterparts co-function to spearhead the continent’s economy.

South Africa will host the annual Manufacturing Indaba on June 25 to 26 at the Sandton Convention Centre. The conference will assemble representatives from public and private sectors who will communicate strategies to ensure gender equality to enable a more diverse and inclusive manufacturing landscape for African countries.

Several reports have shown a positive correlation between economic growth and gender equality, indicating the importance for African governments to increase female labour participation and subsequently expand their talent pools. African leaders at the event will explore prioritising the education levels of women. Special attention will be given to setting up training facilities for women to advance their understanding of important concepts such as standardisation, quality of exports and producing diversified products to further empower them to produce high-value goods.

Moreover, delegates will explore methods of educating African women about leadership skills and how they can best represent Africa’s products in global markets. African women lag behind in appropriate use of technology. Special efforts will be unveiled to encourage women to acquire science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.

The use of technology will enable African women to work from the comfort of their homes as mobility remains a challenge in Africa due to conservative traditions. The event will focus on the entrepreneurial skills required by women in manufacturing.

Many African women are skilled in crafting beautiful carpets, clothes, pottery items and the like. However, they lack access to finance and markets to increase their production output and not only compete with local but also with international products.

Furthermore, discussions on building and strengthening robust and reliable networks of women industrialists will be held so that they can gain access to the latest knowledge relevant to their businesses. An important area that requires immediate attention from African government is the prevalence of gender discrimination in industries. While many industries claim to be an equal employment opportunity employer, few take substantial steps to recruit women in their sectors.

Policymakers suggest that a 50-50 representation of men and women may help in promoting women’s participation in the manufacturing sector. In addition, debates on existing and potential laws will be hosted to provide social, economic and financial security to women so that they can play their role in the sector fearlessly, thereby contributing to the overall economic growth of the developing continent.

Issued by Siyenza Management.

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