The Brong-Ahafo Regional Programme Manager of the ActionAid Ghana, Mr Tontie Binado, has stated that the fight against gender inequality and efforts to achieve the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will not be achieved if work burden of women was not reduced and re-distributed.
He said a research conducted by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) indicated that women who did not get paid for providing domestic care could earn GH¢42,200 each annually, if they were paid for such services.
According to him, the research also found out that in rural communities, more than eight hours of a woman's time, were used for child care, while four hours were used for collecting firewood and another four hours for the fetching of water.
Mr Binado, who was speaking at a regional stakeholders’ dialogue on Unpaid Care Work (UCW), organised by ActionAid, to mark this year’s International Women’s Day in Sunyani in the Bono Region, said women's economic rights were undermined by the disproportionate burden of unpaid, unrecognised care and domestic work.
He said many women were left behind in society because they were overburdened with household chores, which denied them the opportunity of attending capacity building programmes and community gatherings to enhance their abilities.
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Unpaid Care Work (UCW) refers to many services that women provide in their various homes and communities, such as preparing food, taking care of children, the ill and the elderly which consume time and energy, without receiving salaries or allowances.
ActionAid has projected that at the end of 2020, women UCW will be highly valued within households, communities and government, more evenly distributed within households while hours spent by women on UCW would be reduced to enable women to engage in social, economic and political activities.
With funding support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ActionAid Ghana is implementing a five-year project (2016—2020), dubbed: “Promoting Opportunities for Women Empowerment and Rights” (POWER) in eight districts of the country.
The project is aimed at increasing economic empowerment of 6,000 rural women through the reduction and redistributing of the burden of care work while ensuring their financial sustainability by supporting them to access markets and other productive resources and enhance their leadership potential.
The project, in collaboration with Social Development and Improvement Agency (SODIA), has so far empowered 1,600 women farmers in Tain and Asutifi South districts, receptively in the Bono and Ahafo regions, to help them contribute to the increased economic empowerment of the rural woman.
Mr Binado called on the government to consider enrolling and investing heavily in women interventions and programmes at the district level, to reduce the burden of UCW, for women to realise their economic and social right.
He appealed to the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and the various Regional Coordinating Councils (RCCs) to establish simple child care centres, water facilities and other social interventions to help reduce the burden of women.
"There is an interconnection between women UCW, violence against women and girls, women participation in leadership and decision-making processes and their engagement in economic activities, including sustainable agriculture for their livelihoods," Mr Binado stated.
The workshop brought together representatives from departments and agencies, such as Domestic Violence and Victims’ Support Unit (DOVVSU), Commission on Human Right and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Department of Gender and Social Welfare, National Commission for Civil Education and Police Wives Association (POWA), among other institutions.
Mr Binado said it was important for the stakeholders to dialogue on women’s UCW, and called on the public to join the global efforts for removing every stumbling block on the way to the realisation of women economic and social rights.