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Jobtech Alliance: Gender Strategy

Mar 8, 2024 | Research

By: Manan Sharma

Gender and Jobtech in Africa

Women’s involvement and success on jobtech platforms presents a pathway to economic empowerment and better quality of life across sub-Saharan Africa. Globally, women are more actively engaged in online platform work than in the broader labor market, a 2023 World Bank survey found. But in sub-Saharan Africa, the picture is rather different — 27% of online platform workers are women, compared to 45% in the service sector — this is a growth and inclusion opportunity that needs harnessing.

To be able to change the status quo for good through digitally mediated work, there is a need for the ecosystem to be intentional in solving some inclusion barriers – such as social norms / community expectations, accessibility / connectivity barriers, safety & security, pay disparity, etc. Different Ecosystem players have an opportunity to play their part towards eliminating/reducing these barriers, for instance:

  • Platforms can collect, monitor, and analyze gender disaggregated data, develop gender sensitive products, policies, and practices, etc.
  • Investor and funders can earmark funding for women entrepreneurs and for women-focused platforms, use gender-disaggregated data for impact measurement, etc.
  • Policymakers and government can invest in digital infrastructure to bridge the gender gap, develop and coordinate policies that directly address barriers and improve women’s active and successful engagement with jobtech platforms, etc.

To help enable these changes across the ecosystem in collaboration with ecosystem players, we at Jobtech Alliance have launched our gender strategy that aims to address inclusivity barriers in our mission to women succeed in the jobtech landscape.

High-level Jobtech Alliance Gender Strategy

Jobtech Alliance’s gender strategy encompasses multiple themes, including – a) understanding and creating awareness about the gender in jobtech landscape, b) undertaking acceleration activities focused on gender, c) catalyzing responsive activities in the ecosystem to increase the level of inclusion, and d) encouraging transformative changes in the ecosystem to ensure equity

We aim to embed our gender strategy into both our core workstreams – Venture Support and Enabling Environment:

  • Through targeted pipelining and venture building (incl. 12 gender specific sprints 4 sprints to onboard women to worker enablement platforms), we aim to:
    • Support ~16,000 women in earning from platforms
    • Create / improve ~9,000 quality jobs as per Jobtech Alliance’s definition of quality work
    • Enable 2,000 women in accessing tech-enabled skilling and worker enablement platforms
  • In terms of helping create the enabling environment for jobtech ecosystem, we aim to work towards Research and Learning (e.g., producing at least 1 gender-focused learning product every quarter), Building a Community (e.g.,  regular online and in-person gender-themed events), Catalyzing Funding (bringing Gender Lens Investing / GLI investors into the Jobtech Investment Network), Establishing Standards and Tools (e.g., producing gender inclusion playbook)

We have also started working towards deeply integrating the gender lens into our systems, team operations, and results measurement processes.

Platform specific opportunities for Women

In line with our high-level strategy highlighted above, we believe there is immense scope for furthering gender inclusivity across jobtech segments (list of areas of improvement here is illustrative and non-exhaustive):

  • Platforms for Offline Work:
    • Scope to support the growth of platforms in women-dominated sub-sectors (esp. care services given higher payouts) and support women-focused platforms in sub-sectors where women’s representation has been low historically (such as delivery / logistics)
    • Scope to assist in integration of improved security measures on platforms (e.g., KYC, SOS, anti-harassment measures)
  • Digital Services for Micro Enterprises:
    • Scope to support platforms that work with a high percentage of women retailers/workers, specifically social commerce / agent models (since models such as social commerce allow women to use their social capital and operate from any location, with limited / no upfront inventory costs)
  • Platforms for Digitally Delivered Work:
    • Scope for growth and inclusion support in sub sectors such as BPO / managed services platforms which have significant opportunities for women
    • Scope to work towards anti-exploitative practices and encouraging fair-pay by working with platforms on transparent pricing and payment options, removing gender-bias in algorithms (Esp. for creative industries), etc.
  • Tech. Enabled Skilling:
    • Scope to facilitate collaboration between tech-enabled skilling platforms and other job-creating platforms to improve skills of female users
  • Digital platforms for Worker Enablement:
    • Scope to provide technical and research support for platforms which enable users to verify or use their professional identity, reputation and transactional data to improve livelihoods outcomes, access benefits or similar services, especially given such benefits and financial accessibility can often prove elusive for even skilled women, who may not have professional history / resumes.

To know more about Jobtech Alliance’s gender strategy: workstreams, planned activities and objectives, and sector-specific opportunities, you can refer here.


The Author, Manan Sharma, is a venture building extern with Jobtech Alliance


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