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. 

Gender 101 Training
This e-learning course includes an overview of the strategic objectives, guiding principles, and operational and programmatic requirements set forth in USAID’s 2023 Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Policy. By the end of the course, you will be able to speak to the critical role of gender equality and women’s empowerment in the success of USAID programming and ways you can advance these efforts in your own work. 

Fact sheet: Gender equality in East Africa