In a paper that’s particularly relevant to microfinance institutions, Mohammad Amin provides anecdotal evidence from several African nations indicating that working from home is comparable in terms of labor productivity with employment outside of the home. Even more interestingly, there seems to be no disparity in labor productivity between men and women.
One would intuitively think that in nations where there is such a strong patriarchal culture women would be at a disadvantage when working from home, having to balance domestic responsibilities in addition to their business affairs. Thus, it seems that either the women surveyed were significantly more productive or efficient than their male counterparts, or, more importantly, it could suggest evolving gender roles towards a more progressive balance of domestic responsibilities between the men and women in a household. If this is the case, it could have significant implications for the evolution of culture and gender relations in developing African nations, which in the past have been among the most stratified in terms of gender equality. Indeed, this may serve as a testament to the empowering capabilities of access to capital, strengthening the case for microfinance institutions as a catalyst for progressive gender dynamics.