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PhD Defense: Oulimata Ndiaye

Published on March 13, 2023 Updated on March 21, 2023
Le 17 March 2023 De 15:30 à 18:00
Pôle Tertiaire - Site La Rotonde - 26 avenue Léon Blum - 63000 Clermont-Ferrand
Salle Pascal - 313

Gender inequalities and women's integration in the labor market in Africa

Gender inequalities and women's integration in the labor market in Africa


Patrick Plane, Research Director, CNRS-CERDI
Théophile Azomahou, Professor, Director of Training, African Economic Research Consortium
Bity Diène, Associate Professor
Rémi Bazillier, Professor, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
Abou Kane, Professor, Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar
Martine Audibert, Emeritus Research Director, CNRS-CERDI


This thesis is composed of three empirical essays on gender differences in terms of political preference, returns to education and earnings in the labor market.

The first chapter presents new evidence on how norms and traditions may affect women's preferences in demand for public goods in Africa. Using Afrobarometer data for 36 African countries, this chapter aims to determine whether the preferences of men and women differ and, if so, to explore the source of the observed gender differences. The results show that traditional gender norms play an important role in explaining differences in public goods preferences between men and women. African women consistently show a preference for increased public social spending (education, health) and demand less investment in infrastructure, regardless of their level of empowerment or prevailing gender norms in the society. The results also show that women demand less investment in agriculture compared to men. However, in countries where gender norms are less favorable to women, women have higher preferences for agricultural spending.

The second chapter of the thesis contributes to the ongoing debate on the relative advantages of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and general education, with a focus on gender differences. Men and women are likely to choose different TVET fields with different labor market returns. Furthermore, the scant evidence on the determinants of TVET participation in developing countries in the literature has provided ambiguous conclusions about the returns to TVET. In both developed and developing countries, research has tended to ignore questions such as who is entering TVET programs and whether reforms are reaching the target groups they are meant to serve. Given the expansions currently being considered for TVET in Senegal, some critical questions need to be raised. What factors motivate participation in TVET? Are the determinants of participation in TVET different for men and women? What are the economic returns to TVET for men and women? To our knowledge, no research published in Senegal addresses these questions. To fill this gap, we use data from the latest national employment survey in Senegal (ENES-2015) to examine gendered choices and returns to TVET. This chapter shows that TVET increases women's chances of finding a job but does not improve their labor market outcomes. For men, having a TVET degree is associated with higher wages and a greater likelihood of obtaining a permanent contract and working in the formal sector.
The third and final chapter of this thesis studies the wage gap between men and women in Senegal and the interconnection of segregation between sectors and professions in the formation of this gap. Few studies in Africa have addressed this issue, probably due to lack of data. This chapter arrives at five main results that could contribute to reflections to better understand the integration of women into the labor market in Senegal, and more generally in Africa: i) the gender wage gap is high, men are gaining in average 62% more than women, but only a small part of this difference is explained by the characteristics of the workers. (ii) gender segregation within sectors is high and greater than segregation within occupations; women being overrepresented in the least remunerative sectors. iii) gender pay gaps are higher for the self-employed, and lower for salaried and skilled workers. iv) working time is the factor that most contributes to explaining the gender pay gap. (v) having children is an influential factor contributing to increasing the gender pay gap.

This empirical analysis is supplemented by a qualitative analysis allowing to deepen the mechanisms at the origin of the wage differences. The results from individual interviews with 45 women in several localities in Senegal confirm certain results of the empirical analysis. Women's desire for flexible working hours, the burden of parenthood and other household chores are key factors explaining the pay gap between the sexes.