The adult literacy among women in East Africa is at 90 percent that of men according to a report released by UNCTAD.
The report says that adult literacy and primary education enrolment rates have increased in the East African Community region since the creation of the EAC in 2000.
The rate is higher than that in the sub-Saharan region which is at an average of 77 percent.
“However, access to secondary and tertiary education continues to be limited, especially for women with EAC,” said the report.
The introduction of equal property rights has not sufficiently reduced the gender gap in land ownership in East Africa according to the report. Only 51 percent of women in Burundi, 35 percent in Kenya and Uganda, and 46 percent in Rwanda are landowners.
Access to credit through a financial institution remains limited. Family or friends continue to be the most widespread source of loans. In Kenya and Uganda, for example, around 18 percent of men and only about 14 percent of women borrowed from a financial institution.
Women also shoulder a higher share of unpaid care work than men. This, in turn, limits the number of hours they can devote to paid work, constrains their mobility and limits their access to market resources and information.
“Building partnerships is indispensable for bridging information gaps which we have seen hinder women in participating in trade,” said Lisa Karanja, TradeMark East Africa’s Senior Director for Business Competitiveness.
“We have simplified information and partnered with public and private institutions to create information communication technology (ICT) platforms whereby women can access information through their phones or in physical information centers located at border crossings across East Africa.”
The research was conducted by UNCTAD’s Trade, Gender and Development Programme. UNCTAD is committed to using trade and development policies to tackle inequalities worldwide. Addressing gender inequality and promoting women’s empowerment is a critical part of its work.