"Production, reproduction and empowerment: the future of women in Africa" with Prof Jo Boyden & Prof Sandy Fredman

01 December 2017

Portrait of Professor Sandra Fredman

with Professor Sandra Fredman
Rhodes Professor of the Laws of the British Commonwealth and the United States

Oxford Martin Senior Alumni FellowSandra Fredman is Rhodes Professor of the Laws of the British Commonwealth and the USA at Oxford University. She was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2005 and became a QC (honoris causa) in 2012. She is Hon...

Portrait of Professor  Jo Boyden

with Professor Jo Boyden
Professor of International Development

Professor Jo Boyden has been Director of the international longitudinal study, Young Lives, based at the Oxford Department of International Development, since 2005. She has a PhD in Anthropology and a BSc in Social Anthropology from the University of...

Many women in Africa are congregated in poorly paid and precarious work (ILO, 2016) and have very high rates of school dropout and maternal mortality and child morbidity. This is crucially linked to their role in childbirth and child-care. Women and girls still perform the bulk of unpaid domestic and care work, severely limiting their access to work with fair working conditions. Across a diverse continent, empowering women and achieving decent work is a vital element in developing dynamic economies that include the full political and social citizenship of women, while supporting their care-giving roles.

This lecture focuses on young women (aged 15-24), who are at the cusp of reproduction and production. Drawing on the rich data sets collected by Young Lives in Ethiopia, Professor Jo Boyden, Director of Young Lives, & Professor Sandra Fredman, Director of the Oxford Human Rights Hub, examine transitions of adolescent girls and boys from education to labour markets and how their opportunities are shaped by other intersecting transitions (family formation, marriage and parenthood). On the basis of this evidence, they will consider the role of legal frameworks in obstructing or facilitating women’s access to decent working conditions, the social support for care-giving roles, and ways of interrupting intergenerational transmission of poverty.