Despite some progress recorded over the past nine years in improving the economic status of women in the region, recent studies show that the gender gap is widening and contributing to the slow progress on human development being in the region. The Gender Inequality Index assesses disparities between the sexes in health, education, political participation and economic empowerment. It shows that, in countries with less inequality, such as Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia and South Africa, women obtain 96% of men’s human development. The same is not true in more unequal countries, where gender gaps persist in access to economic assets, workplace participation, entrepreneurship opportunities, and benefits from natural resources and the environment. According to estimates by UNDP, a 1% increase in gender inequality reduces overall human development by 0.75% (UNDP, 2016).