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General News of Wednesday, 29 May 2019


ActionAid launches campaign on decent work for women

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ActionAid Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), on Tuesday joined the International Community to launch a campaign on decent work for women in the informal sector to prevent infringement on their rights and the injustices they go through.

The campaign, on the theme: “Decent Work Now for Women in the Informal Economy,” also aimed at addressing challenges like sexual harassment, doing unpaid work, poor remuneration, and no social security nor pension plan.

Others were no paid maternity leave, limited access to financial support facilities, and lack of health and safety measures during work.

Some women in the informal sector who shared their experiences said they had been subjected to sexual harassments by the husbands of their female employers while working as house helps, and others were asked to go to work while sick or lose their jobs.

Others narrated how men demanded for sexual relations with them before offering them jobs.

The women displayed placards with inscriptions such as; “Government, pass laws to protect domestic workers,” “Push for an ILO Convention on gender-based violence,” “Don’t touch women, pay them what they deserve at workplaces,” and “She is old enough to be your daughter but you want sex for job, Shame!!!”.

Mr Sumaila Abdul-Rahman, the Country Director of ActionAid Ghana, in his welcome address, said statistics had shown that globally one out of every three women faced violence and harassment at work while the gender pay gap was estimated at about 32 per cent.

He said the World Economic Forum estimates that it would take 200 years to close the gender pay gap, which he described as unfortunate and called for more advocacy to address the gender-based inequalities.

The global campaign, he said, targeted specific groups of women called ‘Workers at Risk’ such as those in the informal sector and those not adequately covered by labour laws and could not mobilise themselves to push for their rights.

Dr Yaw Baah, the Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress, in a speech delivered on his behalf, defined Decent Work as an opportunity for women and men to work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity.

He said the Decent Work Agenda focused on four main pillars of Right to Work, Employment Opportunities, Social Protection and Social Dialogue.

“An improved economic development is certainly assured when women workers who form the majority of the informal economy workers are empowered to become aware of their rights and work towards it…,” he said.

Dr Rose Mensah-Kutin, the Executive Director of Abantu for Development, an NGO that trains women for leadership, said decent work was the hope of every working person, including women, to maximise opportunities in order to be recognised and valued.

She said deeply entrenched barriers such as women’s non-ownership of livelihood assets, low political participation, unaccounted and unrecorded productive work, vulnerable employment in labour markets and the burden of care had condemned the greater number of women to the informal economy.

Madam Adwoa Sakyi, the Deputy Convener of the Network for Women’s Rights, commended ActionAid for the steps undertaken to creating awareness on the high rate of injustice meted out to women at work places.

“It is never true that the only respected work is office work. What you are all doing is decent and well respected. However, make sure you do it well and effectively,” she said.

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