Working Paper

Gender and Youth Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa: a review of constraints and effective interventions


Although the ratio of female to male labor force participation rates is higher in Sub-Saharan Africa than in any other region, these high rates of female labor force participation mask underlying challenges for women. A large majority of employed women work in vulnerable employment. In addition, youth unemployment rates in Sub-Saharan Africa are double those of adult unemployment, and unemployment rates for women are higher than rates faced by men. This paper discusses the specific barriers that youth face in accessing employment in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the ways in which young women’s employment is constrained above and beyond the constraints faced by male youth. The paper synthesizes the emerging lessons from a growing evidence base on interventions that aim to support young women’s employment, and identifies knowledge gaps and priority research questions for the future. The objective is to develop a gender-informed policy and research agenda on youth employment that can guide practitioners, development partners, and researchers who seek to advance young women’s empowerment and employment in the context of youth employment programming and policy making. This work is part of the Closing the Gender Gap in Africa: evaluating new policies and programmes for women’s economic empowerment programme