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March8 2 
Food production from planting, processing and preparation is in the hands of women and girls. (SLE Togo 2018)

The untapped potential of working women

Rural women and adolescent girls are a driving force of the rural economy in sub-Saharan Africa. A focus on women’s education and training will contribute to unlock the African agricultural sector’s potential for food security, poverty eradication and job creation. Women play a predominant role in sub-Saharan Africa’s food production, processing and trade. They also account for 50 per cent of the agricultural workforce. Despite of their important role for the economy, women and girls access to education and training opportunities lags far behind.

Some sub-Saharan African countries have made considerable achievements in closing gender gaps. In Rwanda, for example, women have formal rights to equal pay, healthcare and education. Approximately 60 per cent of the Members of Parliament are female: The gender gap in political participation has literally disappeared. In contrast, there is still no evidence that women and men have equal access to education. The trends of gender-disaggregated student enrolment and completion rates show that women are still three to four times less represented (Rukazambo 2013, quoted in: the AESIF 2015-2025 of NEPAD/CAADP).

This year, SLE partners with the GIZ supported PanAfrican Reform Processes in Agricultural Development (NEPAD/CAADP). 11 junior experts, two team leaders and research colleagues of Benin, Togo, Uganda and Rwanda assess the benefits and challenges in integrating the private sector in Agricultural Technical Vocational Education & Training (ATVET). In stakeholder workshops, youth, particularly women and girls, training institutes and the private sector will develop new business models. SLE expects to contribute with this study to developing gender equitable and socially inclusive education and skills improvement in these countries.

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