Despite regional growth and notable progress in advancing gender equality, large variations exist within and between countries. Inequalities of income and opportunity still remain high for women and girls. The gender gap in the labor market has been decreasing slowly, but women’s participation is more likely to be in the informal sector.

In fact, 80 percent of all informal traders in East Africa are women trading in grains, staple foods, textiles, and cosmetics. Increasing economic empowerment opportunities, closing gender gaps in the digital divide, increasing access to credit are all needed for women. It is also time for women to be fully included in leadership roles at all levels.

Therefore, USAID investments focus on:

  • Building the resilience capacities of communities, institutions, and systems to plan, respond and recover from shocks and threats.
  • Enhancing the food security ecosystem and sustainably managing natural resources in the region.
  • Promoting cross border trade while strengthening the region’s agricultural markets.
  • Improving women’s livelihoods by building the capacity of women informal cross-border traders on trade regulations, enterprise management, structured trade, EAC grain standards, market information and access to finance. 

Fact sheet: Gender equality in East Africa 

Toolkits: USAID Gender Based Violence Toolkits