On this International Labor Day, we celebrate the gains of having more women in the public and are making great strides in the world of work. We also recognise the women who work in the private sphere and often whose work goes unrecognised and undervalued. You are our unsung sheroes. But huge challenges abound.
The corporate world and books like Lean in by Sherly Sandberg have attributed the current gender gap in the world of work on women not stepping up, showing up or scaling up and their solutions are for women to defy these forces and act more like men. But little has been done to dismantle the systemic dysfunction in the work place to create an environment where women too not only survive but thrive.
To achieve the goal of equality at work, gender parity; decent work; women in leadership; zero discrimination; reduction and redistribution of unpaid care work must be done. During this COVID-19 are men picking up more of the slack on the home front? But we never ask them to do anything different in any significant way. Instead, we remain relentlessly focused on what women can do more of and their part of the equation. So yes we must address both the individual and systemic barriers to women’s ability to thrive in the world of work.
I am happy to work for an organisation like Akina Mama wa Afrika whose sole purpose for existence is to ensure that women too thrive in the world of work. Yes, we focus on building women’s power within, that ability to envision possibilities and act on them but also collective power to resist subordination that is entrenched in our systems, structures, laws, policies and practices.
Make this International Labor Day count. Reflect on one thing that can transform the place of Women@Work and dare to take a BOLD step to make it happen.
Eunice Musiime – Executive Director, Akina Mama wa Afrika