The gig economy is a work situation where individuals or brands come on as freelancers. In this case, they come on board to provide certain services required by the host organization or brand, and these services are mostly provided through digital means.
In Africa, there’s a boom in the gig economy, strongly driving it is the increased smartphone penetration rate and increased digital economy awareness.
One of the greatest attractions of the gig economy is the flexibility it affords where one can decide their work schedules as long as they deliver within agreed timelines.
This flexible nature is what has led to the feminization of the gig economy in Africa, which is the overrepresentation of women in the gig economy. Lots of women are choosing scoring gigs over traditional employment.
This enables them to achieve a more healthy work-life balance. This is the case in various parts of the African continent.
They take on roles ranging from graphic design, social media management, and content creation, among others.
There are lots of opportunities that the feminization of the gig economy in Africa offers to not just women but the society.
An example is for Nursing mothers, it is an avenue to earn passive income while still actively giving the baby the attention and needed care.
Also, females who are enrolled in formal education can comfortably juggle earning and learning.
Equipping themselves with a wide range of skills and experiences would help them build a strong portfolio and help them achieve career success faster whenever they transition to the traditional work system.
Another opportunity is that it nurtures entrepreneurs, females are now motivated to start their businesses. Since the boom in the gig economy, there has also been an increase in the number of female-owned businesses.
Some achieve this by simply putting a structure around the services they offer and getting the necessary papers. While some are motivated to go after a business venture of their choice and set it up.
Another important opportunity of this feminization of the gig economy is the networking and collaboration opportunity it affords females.
These connections often lead to innovative and creative solutions as they share ideas and resources.
Additionally, it’s easy to have multiple streams of income as one can take as many gigs as one can deliver.
These are just a few of the opportunities of the gig economy, there are many more as well as associated risks.
Job insecurity is one of the highest risks of the gig economy unlike in traditional work situations.
Gigs can be unpredictable and even the hustle culture worsens it, as someone else can offer to do the job at an even lower price effectively getting someone else off the business.
There are no work benefits such as retirement plans, health benefits, and other benefits that come with official employment. Also, it is easy to be exploited as a gig worker.
Unless on rare occasions, the gig worker barely has bargaining power and only gets by with what is offered.
There is no way to measure career growth as a gig worker, as there are no promotions or any indicating factors.
This is unsettling for females who seek to build and be recognized in a career path. Deciding to participate in the gig economy is a decision that should be taken considering both cons and pros.
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