By IMFBlog

Women the world over often find themselves on the bottom rung of the employment ladder looking up.  In low-income countries, the obstacles can be enormous.

In this podcast, Hilma Mote of the African Region’s International Trade Union Confederation talks about the challenges African women and youth face given the continent’s rapidly growing labor force.

Africa has a very young population compared to other regions in the world.  The continent has the largest number of people between the ages of 15 and 29, and the challenge for African governments is to provide opportunities to young people, particularly young women.

"If we don't do anything to structurally transform African economies, to make sure jobs remain on the continent, it means that we are bringing up young people for labor on other continents.”

How to create the kinds of economies that support women is a key question this week in Washington.  The IMF is hosting a conference on gender and macroeconomics to discuss innovative empirical and theoretical research on gender and macroeconomics, and the policy implications, with a focus on the challenges of low-income and developing countries.

“African governments have to make Africa women their priority,” says Mote.  “We can no longer walk ahead with 50 percent of the population left behind.”

Listen to the podcast:

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