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 Contest: “Financial and Economic Inclusion of African Women”

Pan-African Women’s Day 2022


The African Union has declared 2020-2030 to be the Women’s Decade of Financial and Economic Inclusion. The Decade is meant to build the momentum and consolidate the gains realized for African women and girls during the previous African Women’s Decade (AWD), in an effort to close the existing gender gaps. The overarching goal is that every woman must be able to work, be paid, and participate in the economy of her country. 

Women across the African continent are already leaders in starting new businesses and being self-employed. Women account for 58% of Africa’s self-employed population. Southern Africa in particular also has high rates of female participation in company ownership with women participating in the ownership of 56.6% of firms in Angola and 55.3% of firms in Botswana. In Africa, female labour participation is high in the majority of countries. Most women work in the informal sector as owners and employees. During the AWD, African countries have made much progress in empowering women economically and promoting female entrepreneurship. However, gender pay gaps persist. The World Bank estimates that more than 70% of African Women are unable to set up a savings or a current account, loans, or credit to meet their needs.  More African women than men live in poverty, are unemployed, or work in the informal sector. The incidence of poverty is higher in female-headed households, particularly among severely impoverished families, compared to households headed by men. Women also assume the responsibilities of the household and care work.  In Africa, women spend 3.4 more time on unpaid care work than men and, consequently, spend less time on paid work. 

Several African countries have introduced laws and policies which attempt to address these gaps in women’s economic and financial inclusion and equality. These include laws which prohibit discrimination against women in employment; laws prohibiting discrimination against women in access to credit; laws guaranteeing paid maternity leave, as well as laws that require all levels of government to budget in a gender-responsive matter, among other laws and initiatives. Still, as of 2019, the laws of most African countries did not comprehensively guarantee equality between men and women in the workplace (see map below).

With the focus on women’s financial inclusion and economic empowerment at the African Union, as well as with the African Continental Free Trade area (AFCFTA) coming into effect in 2021, women’s grassroots ideas, feelings, and, visions are needed more than ever to make the changing regional local and regional economies work for them. Women’s input is also paramount to promoting women’s financial inclusion by making formal financial services available, accessible and affordable to women of all backgrounds, especially rural women. 


The goal of this contest is twofold. First, we would like to observe Pan African Women’s Day. By hosting the contest we would like to build momentum prior to the event and get people involved and excited. Second, we would like to give Africans anywhere an opportunity to share their ideas through a creative outlet on our platform, sparking discussion on the ways they believe African women’s economic and financial inclusion must be improved as part of the 2020-2030 Women’s Decade of Financial and Economic Inclusion.


We are inviting Africans in the continent and in the diaspora to share their ideas on how women can have more control over their earnings and savings, as well as to examine the regulatory, legislative or policy changes needed to foster the financial inclusion of women and to assist financial institutions in adopting approaches tailored to women. 

To that end, we are soliciting submissions of any format that can be displayed digitally, which may be: 

  • an essay or article, 
  • a drawing,
  • a painting, 
  • a poem, 
  • a short story, 
  • a photograph, 
  • a video, 
  • a graphic illustration, etc.

The submissions should illustrate your vision of an economy and financial system which is feminist, gender-sensitive and inclusive of women and girls of all occupations, levels of financial literacy, and locations of residence. Of particular interest are illustrations of an equitable economy for women in the informal sector, cross-border traders, agricultural workers, and other women whose livelihoods are volatile, vulnerable, or unstable. 

We seek submissions that could elicit positive emotions and an original and hopeful imagination of a feminist economic future for African women. 

To accompany visual submissions such as photographs or drawings, you may include a statement explaining or elaborating on the submission and the ways in which it addresses the issue of women’s economic and financial inclusion in the African continent. The statement may not exceed 500 words.

Submissions may be in either English or French.

Please email all submissions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Instructions for submission of an article, essay, or short story:

Attach your article/short story to the email in Microsoft Word format. We will not accept PDF files or articles copied in an email. Below are our criteria for submitting:

  • Length: The article/short story should be between 500-1000 words. Please use British English and cite all factual information with hyperlinks from reputable sources, such as news websites, blogs, books, etc.
  • Style: MEWC welcomes all forms of writing ranging from different academic frameworks to personal narratives, poetry and journalism. This blog is meant to ignite informative, critical and meaningful discussion. Pictures and videos are strongly encouraged, as they help to engage your target audience.

For video submissions:

  • Video submissions are limited to 3 minutes. Submissions longer than 3 minutes will be rejected.
  • Videos cannot include copyrighted material which you do not own or have purchased a license to utilise. 
  • If citing factual information, please include your source within the video.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: June 20th Extended to July 10, 2022 at 12 AM GMT


The top 3 selected works will be awarded a cash prize of:

  • First place: US$300 
  • Second place: US$200
  • Third place: US$100

In addition to the winners, all submitted works which meet the minimum criteria of relevance to the theme will be shared on our social media and website.


Stage 1: Internal Selection

Submissions will be reviewed by MEWC staff and the selected top 8 works will be forwarded for further judgement by a committee of 5 judges unaffiliated with MEWC. 

All submissions will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. Theme: the ideal submission would be a direct response to the theme of African women’s economic and financial inclusion. It would clearly illustrate a change to the economy and/or the financial system that is both feminist & African, as well as inventive and unique.
  2. Emotional Impact: The ideal submission would evoke strong positive emotions, such as inspiration, hope, and awe.
  3. Skill & Effort: The ideal submission would be original, and would exhibit exceptional skill, craftsmanship, and attention to detail. Would appear to have been the result of prolonged effort.

Stage 2: External Selection Committee 

A committee of 5 judges will independently score the 8 submissions that progressed to this stage. Once the scores are tallied, the committee will meet virtually to discuss the results and finalise the three winners. 


All submitted pieces (with the possible exclusion of offensive or irrelevant submissions as determined by MEWC) will be shared throughout the week of July 25-29 on MEWC’s various online platforms, and the winners will be announced along with their submissions on July 28th. 

WEBINAR PANEL - July 28th, 2022

MEWC will host a webinar panel in which the three winners of the contest will be officially announced, and will be invited to receive the award and to speak briefly about their submission if they so wish. In addition, the webinar will include panellists, who will further discuss the roles African women are playing and have yet to play in furthering their economic and financial inclusion.

Register for the event: https://bit.ly/Register-PAWD


Map of Laws Guaranteeing Women’s Equality in the Workplace


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