How Much of the Labor in African Agriculture is Provided by Women?

36 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016 Last revised: 21 May 2020

See all articles by Amparo Palacios-Lopez

Amparo Palacios-Lopez

World Bank

Luc Christiaensen

World Bank

Talip Kilic

World Bank - Development Data Group (DECDG)

Date Written: June 2, 2015

Abstract

The contribution of women to labor in African agriculture is regularly quoted in the range of 60 to 80 percent. Using individual-disaggregated, 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 percent. It is slightly above 50 percent in Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda, and substantially lower in Nigeria (37 percent), Ethiopia (29 percent), and Niger (24 percent). 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.

Keywords: Climate Change and Agriculture, Crops and Crop Management Systems, Gender and Development, Food Security, Livestock and Animal Husbandry, Inequality

Suggested Citation

Palacios-Lopez, Amparo and Christiaensen, Luc and Kilic, Talip, How Much of the Labor in African Agriculture is Provided by Women? (June 2, 2015). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 7282, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2613749

Amparo Palacios-Lopez (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Luc Christiaensen

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Talip Kilic

World Bank - Development Data Group (DECDG) ( email )

Via Labicana 110
Rome, Lazio 00184
Italy

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