The difference in gender wealth

Difference in gender wealth

ALIKO Dangote, the richest man in Africa, is worth an astounding US$13,5 billion, while the richest woman in Africa Folorunsho Alakija is worth US$1,6 billion, a difference that is truly shocking and highlights the huge disparity in wealth between men and women.

According to Ideas 4 Development, women in Africa are more likely than men to be entrepreneurs and make up 58% of the continent's self-employed population.

But a World Bank report, Profiting from Parity, found that women entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa generally earn 34% less in profits than men.

Although the number of women in the highest positions of power, in governments and in tertiary institutions has increased, women still only account for 16% of the top 1% of earners globally and this number has not changed much over the past 10 years.

This brings up the question, why? It is not a lack of ability — for example, in Uganda, the average monthly profit in the female-dominated saloons sector is just US$86, while those in the male — dominated electrical sectors enjoy average monthly profits of US$371.

A quarter of the gender gap in profits in the Democratic Republic of Congo is attributed to the fact that women operate in less profitable sectors.

A quote in the New York Times by Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics and Emmanuel Saez of Berkeley states that "women tripled their share of the top 1% of earners from 1980 to 2000, to 9,2%. Yet from 2000 to 2014, their share grew only to 11,5%" the article went on to state that "at this rate, it would take nearly a hundred years for women to make up half the population of the top 1%".

According to the Policy Centre, though more women than ever are wealthy or high-earning, globally, only 5% of CEOs are women, 22% of cabinet members are women, 29% of senior managers are women, 36% of promotions go to women and 44% of senior women hold line roles.

Women are still grossly underrepresented at every level of the corporate ladder, and their numbers decrease the higher up the institutional ladder we climb.

Unfortunately, the statistics just do not give a full picture of the disparities between men and women's wealth, but it is clear that the diamond ceiling is built around the male prototype.

Additionally, unequal access to credit, hindrances to female entrepreneurship, unequal venture capital funding, and the lack of ownership of business assets and the pension gap have all created a lop-sided playing field for women.

According to the World Economic Forum, taking measures to reduce the gender wealth gap could benefit governments, organisations, investors, and societies as a whole.

Shana is a young Zimbabwean woman passionate about African creative industry. She is the founder of SHANA Media, a digital branding and creative agency. Shana has worked for organisations such as the African Union, the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair and the United States Embassy in Zimbabwe.

Related Topics