The meeting was held on the 5th of May and was virtual. The space was held to launch the care economy index in Africa which was introduced due to the high numbers of women who were being marginalized in African countries. The program was started by FEMNET, in partnership with the United Nations Development Agenda (UNDP) and with the support of the Government of Canada. It was an open discussion to bring out new ideas to improve the project in the empowerment of women and some of the problems they faced during the Covid-19 pandemic. There were presentations made on the research made in African countries to enhance the project swiftly whereby there was already a backlash of discrimination. It was said that the project would be impossible in Africa but that did not stop the project to be administered due to its greater course.
Some of the aims of the session discussed was to grow the economy of African countries and to provide equality and equity in the communities hence women would not be left out. And due to the Covid-19 pandemic, women were faced with the problem of.
Low status in the communities.
Vulnerability of poverty.
Low pay due to the affected economy and employers were unable to pay workers
Increasing care responsibilities in cases where children wee forced to stay home because of the disease hence women had to work and take care of the children.
The rise of gender-based violence.
There were also principles of the action presented by the UN women to improve the initiative as per research made in African countries and they were as follow.
Whole government and society approach
The countries are advised to adopt the 5R framework, which is to recognize, reduce, redistribute UCW, reward PCW well, representation on decision-making mechanism
Non-discrimination and equality for those who provide and receive care; access to undeserved women/communities, geographies
Ensure the action does not unintentionally dissuade employers from hiring women
There was also a representation on the recommended actions on the project which were listed as
Investing in national time- use surveys and other data collection on the care economy to recognize care work and its trends.
Aligning maternity leave policies with ILO standards.
Introducing paternity or parental leave and encourage uptake by men through equal recognition to paid work and UCW for men and women at the workplace, social norm changes initiatives.
Ensure universal, free Early childhood care and education to enhance or benefit the poor; ensure elderly and disability care.
Working with CSO’s to increase initiatives to promote women empowerments.
Empowerment of women and projects.
Safe and equitable working conditions.
The last discussion was on the significance of care work which were;
Totality of women’s work.
Public good fundamental to societies and economies.
Unpaid care work lowers the values / conditions of paid care work.
It is not defined as work- diminishing women’s labor as valid contributions.
Its is a fundamental element in gender-based division of work.
In conclusion, since the project is still growing there would be more 3 webinars to be enhanced in the future to deep dive on the issues and more solutions in empowering women and girls for a better future.
Interested in watching the session? Find it here on the FEMNET Secretariat page: