Time and Money: A Study of Labor Constraints for Female Cotton Producers in Cote D’Ivoire

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Photo: Olivier Girard for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

  • The World Bank Africa Gender Innovation Lab combined quantitative data from the 2015 Enquête Niveau de Vie des Ménages (ENV), a nationally representative household survey, and qualitative data gathered by our research team to offer new insights on the drivers of labor barriers to gender equality in cotton production.
  • Four inter-related drivers of this labor constraint for women cotton producers emerged out of this study: low financial liquidity, little control of household labor, lack of flexible work hours and lower returns.
  • Key policy considerations related to labor financing and gender norms were identified to address the key barriers of women’s cotton production and productivity.

Abidjan, May 11, 2017 –– A gap between male and female farmers in agricultural production, both in terms of output and productivity, has been largely documented across Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Africa Gender Innovation Lab (GIL) has produced a body of evidence that identified constraints women farmers face, determined the size and cost of the gap in agricultural productivity, and offered promising policy options and emerging new ideas to test. One of the key findings from GIL’s Levelling the Field report is that labor presents the main barrier to achieving gender equality in productivity.

In a recent mixed-methods study, we investigate and provide explanations for female farmers’ labor constraints within the cotton sector of Côte d’Ivoire, as part of the Côte d’Ivoire Agriculture Sector Support Project’s efforts to increase female participation in cotton production. We first quantify the gender gap in labor usage, then look at the drivers of this gap and how they constrain women’s cotton production and productivity, and finally offer recommendations for policymakers.