Determinants of female labour force participation in Zimbabwe: 1980-2012
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The aim of the study is to identify the determinants of female labour force participation (FLFP) in Zimbabwe based on time series analysis of data from 1980 to 2012. The study also seeks to examine if education and economic development increase FLFP. Identifying the determinants of FLFP would assist with information necessary for accelerating the achievement of Millennium Development Goal number 3 (MDG3) on gender equality and empowerment of women. As propounded by Sackey (2005), achievement of MDG3 would help in alleviating poverty and in improving growth potential in the country. Econometrics views 7 (e-views 7) was used to estimate a log linear model for female labour force participation in Zimbabwe. The study established that the major factors that determine FLFP in Zimbabwe are real wages offered in the non-agricultural sectors that are dominated by men, gross domestic product per capita, female education and the male unemployment rate. We established that high economic performance, higher levels of education for females and high male unemployment rate all raise female labour force participation in Zimbabwe. On the contrary the study established that high wages in male dominated sectors reduce female participation. The main reason for the negative effect of male wages is that the majority of working age females in Zimbabwe are married. Married women often consider their husbands’ income as part of their non-labour income (Mincer, 1962). The results point out that fertility, health, male labour force participation and nominal market wages do not significantly affect female labour force participation in Zimbabwe. The study recommends that Government should prioritise female education and economic development in its developmental efforts in order to achieve higher levels of participation of females in paid work.