Two Tier Development: Women in Africa
In this article, we identify African countries with a similar development level based on selected women’s development indicators. To assess the development levels, we used the following indicators: i) economic participation and opportunity, ii) leadership, iii) educational attainment, iv) health and survival, v) rights and norms related indicators, vi) childbearing, vii) childcare, and viii) political empowerment. The methodologies applied in this study include principal components analysis and cluster analysis. We test two hypotheses concerning the relative development of women throughout the continent of Africa. The first hypothesis tests that whether African countries could be divided into core and periphery groups based on their achievements in terms of women’s relative development. The second hypothesis tests if the North African countries are in a different position in terms of women’s development in comparison to their Sub-Saharan counterparts. While empirical results support the first hypothesis, the results do not support the second hypothesis. We argue that Core countries are in a better situation in terms of women’s relative development than that of the periphery countries. Both these two groups include countries from North Africa and Sub Saharan Africa, thus contesting the idea that women in North-African countries might fare well than the women in the south of the Sahara. While we acknowledge the intra-group diversities of communities, women, and countries throughout Africa, the originality of this article is that it shows the proximity of the development situation of women in comparison to women, instead of men. The article, however, does not aim to explain the reasons behind the similarities or differences in the levels of development between the core and periphery countries.
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