Twentieth Annual Senior Policy Seminar

GrOW Policy Workshop
Lessons from Sub-Saharan Africa
March 11, 2018 | Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa

Kampala, Uganda


Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) is partnering with the AERC to present findings from the Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) program. This workshop is part of AERC’s twentieth annual Senior Policy Seminar (SPSXX) on Regional Integration in Africa. Researchers from the GrOW program will present to senior policy makers on their findings, analysis and policy recommendations around gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in Sub-Sahara Africa.

This dialogue will focus on the barriers that women face to economic opportunities, what can be done to address them, and the policy interventions that can be piloted or scaled to response to economic barriers and constraints for women. The speakers will explore key questions such as: What determines school to work transitions for young women? How does women’s care burden impact female labour force participation? What type and quality of work can women obtain in the labour market in Sub-Saharan Africa? How do patterns of economic growth interact with women’s economic empowerment across different sectors?

The objectives of the workshop are to:

  • Disseminate and engage policy makers on cutting edge evidence on what works to promote women’s economic empowerment and growth in Sub Saharan Africa;
  • To provide an opportunity for policy makers and researchers to identify pathways by which GrOW research findings can be applied at the country level to effect change;
  • Foster peer learning and information exchange, and connect key experts with policy makers and potential users of the evidence;
  • Identify directions and partnerships for future policy oriented research and programming on women’s economic empowerment.


Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW):

Lessons from Sub-Saharan Africa

Draft Agenda | Sunday March 11, 2018

13:00-13:30 Registration
13:30-14:00 Welcome Remarks

  • Introduce objectives for the day and purpose of the workshop
    • Lemma Senbet, Executive Director, AERC

Opening Remarks

  • Introduction to the GrOW program
    • Paul Okwi, Senior Program Officer, IDRC

Session  1: Panel Discussion

Women’s labour market participation, child care and social protection

Early marriage and pregnancy significantly impact the educational attainment of young women in Sub-Saharan Africa. When women marry early and start having children at a younger age, they are more likely to drop out of school. These factors disadvantage women in the labour market and impede their economic opportunities. Compounded with this is the lack of community and government safety nets to alleviate the burden of responsibility that comes from managing a household and everyone in it. In this session, the speakers will explore the care responsibilities that restrict the entry of young women into the labour market and the interventions that could help loosen women’s time constraints and their capacity to pursue and maintain gainful employment.

Speakers will address the following questions:

  • What enables/inhibits the entry of young women into the workforce?
  • How does women’s care burden impact in their ability to pursue economic opportunities
  • What types of interventions can alleviate or redistribute women’s double burden?


  • Florence Muhanguzi– Makerere University, Uganda



  • Abbi Kedir –  University of Sheffield, UK
    • Transitions to Early Formal Sector Wage Employment of Ethiopian Youth: Cross Sectional and Panel Data Evidence


  • Ibrahim Kasirye – Economic Policy Research Centre, Uganda
    • Drivers for Early Labour Market Transitions of Young Women in Uganda: Evidence from the 2015 School to Work Transition Survey


  • Milka Njeri – African Population and Health Research Centre, Kenya
    • Can subsidized early childcare promote women’s employment? Evidence from slum settlement in Africa


  • Abel Alfred Kinyondo – Research on Poverty Alleviation (REPOA) in TanzaniaAssessment of Women’s Empowerment in the Production of Social Safety Net Programs in Tanzania


  • Masinjila Masheti  – Collaborative Centre for Gender and Development (CCGD) in Kenya
  • Louis Boakye-Yiadom –  Department of Economics, University of Ghana
15:00-15:15 Coffee/Tea Break

Session 2: Panel Discussion

Creating space: Disrupting notions of “men’s work” and reducing gender segmentation in the workplace


In Sub-Saharan Africa, women are underrepresented in the formal labor market and face significant obstacles in breaking into jobs that are traditionally held by men. Socially driven divisions between what’s considered “men’s work” and “women’s work” perpetuate the exclusion of women from certain sectors and critically impact their livelihoods. This panel will explore the reasons why women are barred from certain types of employment, the win-win argument for gender equality and economic growth, the economic costs of excluding women from certain sectors, and how women are carving out a space for themselves in sectors that are traditionally dominated by men across sub-Saharan Africa. Speakers will also provide policy recommendations around supporting women to attain employment, improving the working environment to accommodate the needs of female workers and providing opportunities for professional growth and advancement to female employees.

Speakers will address the following questions:

  • In which sectors do women find employment in Sub-Saharan Africa?
  • What can explain the exclusion of women from certain jobs and sectors?
  • How can women be supported to join traditionally male dominated workforces and attain high-skilled work?
  • How do patterns of economic growth interact with women’s economic empowerment across different sectors?


  • Abbi Khedir –   University of Sheffield, UK


  • Jane Mariara –  Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP), Kenya



  • William Boah-Boateng – University of Ghana, Ghana
    • Gender Differences in the extractives sector: a case study of mining in Ghana


  • Jennifer Hinton – Carleton University, Canada
    • Gender and Artisanal & Small-scale Mining in Central and East Africa: Barriers and Benefits


  • Masinjila Masheti  – Collaborative Centre for Gender and Development (CCGD),  Kenya
    • Optimizing on the Potential for Agricultural Enterprises among Rural Women Farmers in 3 Kenyan counties.
16:15-17:00 Session 3: Policy Dialogue

Policy responses to GrOW findings

In this session, stakeholders from the public sector, academia, and civil society will discuss policy implications from the research findings, and develop recommendations on potential interventions, research uptake, partnerships and policies that could help mitigate and resolve the obstacles that constrain women’s economic empowerment.


Moderator: Ibrahim Kasirye – Economic Policy Research Centre, Uganda



  • Margaret Kakande – Ministry of Finance, Uganda
  • Grace Bantebya – Makerere University, Uganda
  • Florence Kuteesa – Council for Economic Empowerment for Women of Africa
  • Patrick Olowo – National Planning Authority
17:00-17:30 Closing Remarks & Way Forward – IDRC and AERC


About the Organizers

The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) is a Canadian Crown corporation funding research in developing countries to advance knowledge and solve practical development problems, to promote inclusive growth, reduce poverty, inequalities and exclusion, and drive large-scale positive change. IDRC’s work seeks to align itself with global and regional frameworks including the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals, the 2030 Agenda, and achievement of the AU Agenda 2063.

The Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) program is a joint initiative of the IDRC, the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID), and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The five-year programme has funded 14 research projects in 50 countries around the world, and generated new evidence on women’s economic empowerment and links to economic growth in low-income countries. This workshop will create a diaologue between regional policymakers and scholars on policy implications of these findings.

The African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) was established in 1988, as a premier capacity building institution in the advancement of research and training to inform economic policies in sub-Saharan Africa. It is one of the most active Research and Capacity Building Institutions (RCBIs) in the world, with a focus on Africa. AERC implements its activities through a programme that has three primary components: research, training and policy outreach. The AERC is a capacity building network institution that integrates high quality economic policy research, postgraduate training and policy outreach within a vast network of researchers, universities and policy makers across Africa and beyond. AERC has increasingly received global acclaim for its quality products and services, and is ranked highly among global development think tanks.