Equality will empower women in Africa

Posted on March 15, 2014 03:29 pm

For centuries, women have been the backbone of family life in Africa and until today the remain more important than men in raising children as the continent has one of the highest numbers of irresponsible men. Stereotypes against women are common with a recent study showing that many employers across sub Saharan Africa have chose to ignore the fact that women often play an equal role in contributing to families’ financial welfare. For a woman to get a job or promotion, most of them are forced to have affairs with decision makers according to a 2011 study on corporate sector’s women representation in the continent. When it comes to pay, many companies treat their female workers as if they provide only a secondary source of input to their business, regardless of whether they are more qualified than their male counterparts or not an din countries like South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria they pay male staff almost three times of their female colleagues. Female workers also face discrimination in terms of boardroom representation. It remains common practice that men typically receive working benefits for the entire family. In African countries unlike western countries, women in the workforce also take on dual roles, expected to balance family and career. Workplaces that set aside a lactation room or space for parents to care for an infant while at work are few and are just gaining popularity and overall studies show they are rare.

In a dozen of African countries I have been lucky to visit, women have to take care of household work before leaving for their workstations, and must do what is expected of them after coming home from cooking to laundry among other daily duties. Studies show that few African men know how to cook for themselves and are chauvinists in nature. In most cases, a heavy workload is perceived as justified by the unjust belief that it is a woman’s duty to take care of housework, and not a man’s. That’s what I call stupidity and 18th century mentality. More than half of African population are women who are supporting their families at home, but the men in African most of them lazy have failed to acknowledge and respond to women specific circumstances and needs. That mindset should change, especially if African countries are to join the rest of the world where equal pay and benefits are made fundamental rights that must be upheld by employers and not the current case where women are treated as inferior. African employers must start treating women equally in terms of payment and benefits, and not only expect them to complete an equal amount of work. Hardly can you see drunkards who are women being lined up in courts of law in African countries but for men it’s a staple for news outlets. A 2010 study showed that in every 100 criminals in East Africa, only three are women. In theory, the continent needs more empowered women than men.

Contador Harrison