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Impact of gender differences and cultural values on women’s promotion prospects in the public sector of selected countries in sub-Saharan Africa
Abdelsalam, Safa Musa Abdelrasoul
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This literature-based case study investigated the influence of gender differences and cultural values on women’s promotion prospects in the public sector of three sub-Saharan countries, namely: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Sudan and provided a framework designed to facilitate the implementation of women’s promotion prospects in the public sector. Worldwide, women employed in the public sector are stereotyped and discriminated against by being by-passed for high-level positions by men who consider themselves more capable employees. As such, women are overlooked for promotion and encounter the ‘glass ceiling’, which hampers their efforts at accomplishing their career goals. Equality in promotion will improve women’s living conditions and benefit society. While studies have been conducted on several women’s issues, none has focused on how gender differences and cultural values affect women’s promotion in sub-Saharan Africa. This gap needs to be addressed. The design of the study was qualitative as it provides insights into the phenomenon studied. The data collection method was desk research, owing to financial constraints that did not allow for travelling to collect primary data. The study found that gender discrimination exists in both society and the public sector workplaces in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Sudan as a consequence of multi-ethnicity, religion (Sharia law) and war in the Sudan, particularly. The effects of cultural values on promotion and employment in these countries are palpable. The process of how women are promoted to leadership in the public sector is, however, unclear. The study also revealed that in a country like Rwanda, where equal gender opportunities exist socio-economically, fast economic growth and enhanced societal living conditions have been realised. Women’s promotion and well-being is strongly related to the elimination of poverty and the enhancement of living conditions such as reduced child starvation and death. Equality and empowerment of women is now globally accepted as a core human right that needs to be sustained. In this direction, a comprehensive framework for the implementation of gender policies on women’s promotion prospects was developed.
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