Can Women Lead The Gig Economy In Africa

Can Women Lead The Gig Economy In Africa

Morenike Ogunjobi, 26, prepares a variety of delicacies in her home kitchen in Lagos, Nigeria, between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. every weekday. Morenike garnishes her meals with fried plantain, fish, and tender meats, whether she’s making stir-fried spaghetti, yam porridge, or native rice.

Her customers, however, are not in sight. She serves these meals in clear food packs that she wraps in her branded polythene bags. A dispatch rider is ready to collect these meals and deliver pre-ordered homemade breakfast to customers across Lagos before 7 a.m.

Morenike, also known as Mummy Mo, is a woman who runs her business through e-commerce via social media. They also use platforms like Food Sasa to find vending jobs. Food vendors have joined the new digital informal economy and are profiting from it. However, it is not just food vendors.

Women in Africa are using online platforms as a critical source of income now more than ever. Jumia, Africa’s largest e-commerce platform, recently announced that women make up 51% of its vendors and account for 33% of total merchandise sales between 2019 and 2020. According to IFC, women dominate the fashion category of African e-commerce.

According to research, women-owned businesses outnumber men-owned businesses on social media in several African countries. Women have also become drivers for ride-hailing platforms such as Uber and Bolt. Furthermore, many young women on the continent are providing professional services through freelancing and on-demand labor platforms.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines gig jobs as temporary employment with set end dates. It could be a fixed-term contract, a task-based contract, a seasonal or casual job. It also claims that women make up four out of every ten workers globally on online and web-based platforms.

Gig economy platforms take various forms across Africa. Kobo360 and Lori Systems, for example, have each raised at least $37 million in funding to connect people with on-demand third-party truck drivers. According to Lori Systems, the African haulage market is worth $180 billion per year.

SweepSouth, which has raised $6 million from investors, and Eden Life, which provides on-demand home cleaning services, among other things, in South Africa and Nigeria, are also examples. However, there are other platforms for professional services such as accounting, graphic design, programming, and content writing, to name a few. Andela, a Mark Zuckerberg-funded company that recently became a unicorn, is one notable name.

In Uganda, approximately 85% of working women work in the informal sector, which accounts for 75% of total employment. According to a 2011 report, activities such as carpentry are deemed unsuitable and too demanding for women. As a result, they have frequently settled for less physically demanding, lower-paying jobs such as food preparation or market selling.

The gig economy is already a significant part of Africa’s labor future. Its teeming youth are turning to gigs to put their skills to use. However, it is possible that women will take the lead in Africa’s gig economy. Women already account for 65% of skilled professionals in Nigeria. In many other African countries, women outnumber men in the skilled labor force. However, Africa’s peculiarities may play a significant role in determining its dominance in the gig economy.

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Obligations and cultural bias

Africa takes pride in adhering to a wide range of cultural affinities and traditional belief systems. Gender roles in families and society are also part of these belief systems. Married women, for example, are expected to be more present for domestic duties, such as caring for their children. Even though women are increasingly involved in the corporate and business worlds, these beliefs continue to influence their work habits. According to research, women have a more difficult time balancing work and life than men.

Growing in the corporate sector necessitates a significant time investment. Furthermore, 9 to 5 jobs offer little to no time flexibility. As a result, women are more likely to seek more flexible options in order to be present for their families. Gigs, as a result, become more appealing to traditional African women because they can choose their own working hours.

Unemployment based on gender

In terms of the number of female business owners, Africa leads the world. African women have been shown to be more likely than men to be entrepreneurs. According to the World Bank, women own 58% of all MSMEs in Africa. Unemployment, on the other hand, is a major motivator for women to start their own businesses.

Women made up only 38% of civil servants in Nigeria between 2010 and 2015, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. 
In South Africa, nearly one in every three (30.5%) women is unemployed. 
So it isn’t just that African women enjoy doing business. 
It’s just that lot of them are having difficulty finding work. 
Despite the fact that many women own businesses, the World Bank reports that they are34% less profitable than men-owned businesses. 
As result, it’s safe to say that many of them dislike running businesses. 
However, because the gig economy is open to all, it may begin to see an influx of women.

It’s not all sunshine and roses.

Women have a lot of opportunities in the gig economy, thanks to the low entry barrier. However, there are obstacles to overcome, one of which is safety. According to a study of female ride-hailing drivers in South Africa, Mexico, Egypt, Indonesia, and the United Kingdom, the majority (57%) prefer not to drive outside of daylight hours due to security concerns. In South Africa, 51% of female drivers cited safety as the primary reason for not driving more hours.

Furthermore, gigs do not completely eliminate gender inequality in Africa. Despite the large number of women entering the gig economy in developing countries, women make up only two out of every ten workers on online, web-based platforms. According to the World Bank, this is due in part to the fact that there are still more uneducated women on the continent than men. Nonetheless, Africa’s labor-force future is bright. Its burgeoning internet economy provides opportunities for women and physically challenged people who have previously struggled to find work.