Changing the course on gendered transitions to adulthood in Africa

First in a series of blog posts on the release of the 2019 Annual Trends and Outlook Report (ATOR) at the ReSAKSS Annual Conference in Lomé, Togo, Nov. 11-13. This year’s ATOR theme is “Gender Equality in Rural Africa: From Commitments to Outcomes.” 

Across the world, becoming an adult means increased responsibilities and expectations linked to marriage, childbearing and parenting, and supporting oneself and others. Young women and men aged 15-24 are in the process of transitioning to adulthood. This includes preparation for adult responsibilities (e.g., education and making healthy decisions) and beginning to take on adult roles (e.g., work, marriage, parenthood).

In Africa, which has the world’s youngest population, nearly one in five people falls into this age group. Among them, young women have fewer physical assets, such as land and livestock, compared to young men. They also tend to have less schooling, disadvantaging them in terms of continuing education and training opportunities, securing a job, and earning a living. In addition, social norms may lead young women to perform caregiving roles, limiting their ability to earn a paid income. Young men, on the other hand, may be expected to focus on generating income, leaving little to no time for them to be caregivers.

Photo Credit: World Bank