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Reading through the dailies one notes that the road to gender equity is still miles afar, making gender equality light years away for the Eswatini community.

Recently it was reported that only 23 per cent of women participated in the recent by-elections, also, two of the recently constituted committees are all men. This shows a lack of deliberate action on the part of government to advance gender equity as a duty bearer, yet the proposition for gender equity is a critical one for economic growth. Today I am going to address the issue of gender economics, and detail why it makes sense for the country to take advantage of investing in gender equality.

Ask marketing people

Noting how advertising is always targeted and directed to the right people. The gender dynamics of the clientele have always been crucial to marketing people, to the point that they target even infants with no source of income. This is purely because they know that human relations are laden with reciprocity, the mother feels the pain of the child, the father has an inert need to provide for the whole family and not just himself as orthodox economics would put to atomistic or rational consumer to be. If the people at the sale’s end of the production spectrum understand that there is a gender differentiated demand, why are we not taking that into cognisance in our planning and in deliberate actions by our government to address gender equity?
Investing in gender equality makes for good business as it is pivotal for product differentiation and new product development in lieu of a certain market. Empowering all genders ensures that they all have enough income to spend and thus effective demand is strengthened.

Market efficiency

Investing in gender equality ensures that we have efficient labour markets and efficient demands. According to women and men, equal opportunities to education and employment opportunities ensures that we get the best person for the job, as compared to a situation where the labour market is overloaded with a single gender. If we exclude a certain group of people, either systematically through the lack of deliberate actions to equally empower them, or overtly through direct discrimination, translates to excluding even the best of that group in our selection processes. It breeds a situation where even those who would have been below standard if participants from all groups were allowed equal and fair participation, both in opportunity and outcome, would not have made the cut.

Safeguarding future

In a bid to safeguard the future, gender equality concerns need to be taken seriously. One of the fundamental roles of women is the reproductive role; pro-creation is not possible without a woman, the basis of life begins with a woman and thus it is imperative that we empower our women so that they have the right knowledge and means to take care of the future generation.
Furthermore, women are tasked with the role of nurturing the future generation, not that men do not play a role, but it is primarily the role of women to undertake such activities. Hence if women are empowered with equality of access to education, employment and leadership positions the future stands to be in good balance.

Improved decision making at leadership

A common adage goes, ‘we left the world at the hands of men, now look at the planet’. Furthermore, leading economists are in agreement that if women were present at the decision making table, the two world wars would not have occurred. Also, the Lehman sisters hypothesis posits that if the leadership of the bankers back in 2008 had enough female representation chances are the credit crunch could have been averted, a greater proportion of the banks that did not need bailouts were those that were led by women at the time. What this brings to mind is the role that testosterone and oestrogen play in our configuration and decision making processes.

We are creatures largely separated by the amount of testosterone and oestrogen in our bodies. As such, our outcomes are fairer when we act in unison and with appreciation of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. After all, the perfect human being is all of humanity combined and not just one person or race or sex. If we appointed women into the leadership positions we would be able to ensure that the decisions made in industry and our politicians reflect the true wishes of society and result in just and fair outcomes for all.

Way forward

I would like to implore both industry and government to invest in the goal of gender equity and ultimately equality, this makes good business sense. It corrects for both supply side and demand side inefficiencies caused by gender equality and ultimately a sustained growth is possible. This can be attained through precision, affirmative action, where we positively discriminate against men to get women into the decision making fray since the societal odds are stacked against women’s transition to decision making positions. Furthermore, we call on government to prioritise the gender policy and its implementation and allocate the right resources for its attainment.

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