Sunday, August 18, 2013

Stone-breaking - heart breaking

Unemployment is high in post-war Liberia, breaking stones is the only option for many women to make ends meet. The stones are being used in Liberia's booming construction sector, but profits are hardly trickling down - 35 Liberian dollars (47 US cents or 34 Euro cents) per bucket. A good days fills seven buckets.

Liberia is expected to have a growth rate of 8.9 percent this year, according to the African Economic Outlook, boosted by a rise in commodity prices, particularly rubber, palm oil and minerals, at a time when many European economies are stagnating or even in recession.

Despite the fact Liberia has a female president, heralded for promoting women's rights and welfare, life for women is particularly hard. The literacy rate for rural women is at just 26 percent, compared with 61 percent for urban women, and 60 percent and 86 percent for rural and urban men, respectively, according to Liberia's Ministry for Gender and Development. In addition, 42 percent of women have never been to school, compared with 18 percent of men.

Government revenue has grown by 400 percent. But eight out of 10 Liberians still live on less than US$1.25 (0.94 euros) a day according to the World Bank.


No comments: