Boosting women’s opportunities in 15 communities
For many women unpaid care work can lead to time poverty and social, economic and political exclusion. Advocacy and dialogue sessions were hosted in 15 communities to develop a better understanding of women’s rights and the importance of women participating in household and community decision-making.
Women most affected by unpaid care work are vulnerable women and those from rural communities. These women perform many domestic chores such as cooking, taking care of children and the elderly, fetching water, washing, and keeping the house and its environment clean, among others.
It is believed that women could earn hundreds of Ghana cedis monthly if they were paid for the services they render for their families at home.
In 2016, research conducted by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) indicated that women who do not get paid for providing domestic care could earn GH¢43,200 annually if they were paid for such services. KNUST used the national minimum wage and economic factors to determine this figure.
Statistics from the Ghana Living Standards Survey 6 (captured in Ghana’s Sustainable Development Goals Indicator Baseline Report) show that the average Ghanaian spends 42.8 minutes on domestic and care work every hour, and that women spend more time on average on these tasks than their male counterparts.
In addition, the Ghana Statistical Service showed that a typical Ghanaian woman worked an average of 13 hours per day, but that only 40% of this work was paid. Unpaid care work consumes time and energy but does not yield a salary or allowance.
Undeniably, some males share some responsibility of unpaid care work and other forms of unpaid work, but women are responsible for a disproportionate amount of this labour.
Women are more likely to be found in the informal sector where they are concentrated in vulnerable employment, such as household chores, which prevents them from working in the formal sectors and attending capacity-building programs and community gatherings to enhance their abilities.
Undermining women’s welfare
The domestic unpaid workload on women undermines their welfare as it prevents them from participating in some crucial social gatherings, economic and political activities, as well as community meetings and programs.
Women, therefore, have less time to engage in paid work, network, and participate in activities for societal change. This undermines their well-being, causing insecurity, limiting their options for paid work, and fostering financial dependence. Additionally, the unpaid care work carried out by women often goes unnoticed and unrecognised in the calculations of a country’s economy.
The Women’s Innovation for Sustainable Enterprises Project (WISE), is a women’s economic empowerment project which seeks to promote innovative, integrated and gender-transformative business services. It does this by improving women’s agency through opportunities to participate in decisions regarding economic growth and the establishing of their own businesses.
In a bid to change the narrative, the Global Media Foundation (GloMeF), with funding from Plan International Ghana implemented community level advocacy sessions under the WISE project in 15 communities in the Sunyani Municipality.
The four-year project is being implemented at the cost of GH¢122,000 to educate the public on issues about unpaid care work and the need to involve women in decision-making at the household and community level.
The 15 communities expected to benefit from the project are Abesim, Adomako, Asufufu, Watchman, Kwasinfum and Benue Nkwanta. Others are Atronie, Nsagobesa, Boreso, Daadom, Atuahenekrom, Nwowasu, Kyeredua, Yawsae and Atwikrom.
Part of the project will be a series of community-level advocacy sessions to orient community members, create awareness of the benefits of supporting women’s economic participation and build women’s agency to take individual and collective actions.
The advocacy will be in a form of community dialogue sessions and have 2 phases. Phase 1 of the project will concentrate on unpaid care work, while phase 2 will focus on decision-making.
The project will encourage men to get involved with and share household chores with women, reducing women’s time poverty and allowing them to engage in other economic activities. It also aims to help men and other community members better understand women’s rights, and appreciate the importance of women participating in household and community decision-making.
The project’s target audiences are male champions, traditional and religious leaders, savings group members and all other community members.
“We are of the view that there are various ways of appreciating women for performing domestic chores.”Joycelyn Adii, Bono and Ahafo Regional Director of the Department of Gender
At the recent inception meeting in the Bono region, the Chief Executive Officer of GloMeF, Raphael Godlove Ahenu, said it was their target to ensure 30% of women participate in decision-making processes in their homes and communities, that 50% of men develop positive attitudes towards women’s economic participation and advancement, and that 65% of the community and religious leaders have adequate practical knowledge on how to promote women’s economic empowerment.
To achieve this target there would be 30 separate local-level community dialogue sessions held across the 15 communities in the municipality.
Remuneration for unpaid work
Joycelyn Adii, Bono and Ahafo Regional Director of the Department of Gender, told the Daily Graphic that the department advocates remuneration for women for the provision of their services. “We are of the view that there are various ways of appreciating women for performing domestic chores.”
Ms Adii highlighted that the International Community Standard states that women should be recognised for their unpaid work, and that the workload of women be reduced to allow them to participate in decision-making at the household and community level.
With the aim of securing majority public agreement, Ms Adii said the Department of Gender had intensified its advocacy campaigns about unpaid care work and women’s involvement in decision-making. She called on the public to support the campaign and help bring relief to women and enhance women’s development and the development of the country.
Skills and work, Livelihoods