Navigating Education, Motherhood, and Informal Labor: The Experiences of Young Women in Luanda
26 September 2023
Gender equality is a key foundation of inclusive and sustainable economic development that can translate into long-term and effective poverty reduction. While gender equality matters on its own as a human right, it also offers instrumental value for individuals, households, and societies at large. Global evidence consistently shows that empowering women and girls reduces poverty incidence and food insecurity, boosts economic growth and productivity, and enhances investments in children’s human capital. Angola, a country where a third of the population lives in poverty and economic output is heavily dependent on its oil sector, stands out in Sub-Saharan Africa for its particularly large gender disparities, especially when compared to countries of same income levels. Family formation, education, and labor market decisions are intrinsically interwoven and connected, which in the case of Angola leads to extreme demographic pressure on an already weak public service system. To begin tackling these significant gender disparities, well-designed and targeted policies are needed. But there are significant knowledge gaps when it comes to understanding the key barriers facing Angolan girls and young women in accessing education and transitioning to the labor market. This report presents insights gained from the voices of young women and girls, their parents, and key informants through a series of interviews carried out in Luanda, home to a quarter of the country’s population, in 2022. Based on these in-depth interviews with low-income young women in Luanda, this report points to the multiple challenges they face across their life cycle - challenges relating to the dimensions of education, family formation, and work. It also shows how those dimensions in a woman’s life are deeply interconnected - and how they are determined by structural constraints including poverty and vulnerability, gender norms, corruption and lack of transparency in access to services and opportunities, and violence in public and private spheres.
gender equality poverty women and girls gender based violence gender norms social protections and labor :: labor markets gender :: gender and development gender :: gender and education law and development :: human rights social protections and labor :: labor standards teenage pregnancies informal trading education and work