GOVERNMENT has been urged to promote decent working conditions for women in the public sector as they carry the extra burden of social labor at home.
By Fadzai Ndangana
This came out in a virtual meeting organized by social justice movements- Action Aid Zimbabwe and Issues Pane Nyaya, where stakeholders were discussing the importance of decent work in the context of national development.
Social labor at home is supposed to be paid for someone to do it but in Zimbabwe, civil servants cannot afford to pay that someone so in the end it all becomes too much on a female worker,” said Economist Researcher Nyasha Muchichwa.
“We need to find ways to promote social protection. For example in Mondovia, their maternity extends to 12months.”
He added that the Education and Health Sectors have experienced continuous violation for rights of women workers.
“There are multiple decent work deficits that exist in the education and health sector that need addressing. This has led to an increase in the incidences of demoralized workers and a fall in the provision of services. There has been a fall in the quality of service rendered in the two sectors (upsurge of extra-classes and private surgeries) and also an upsurge in secondary jobs (locum and informal jobs),” he said.
Muchichwa said women in the two sectors work in the absence of a fair wage and the situation has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic which has affected most livelihoods.
While there is consensus that both genders have been adversely affected by the deplorable working conditions in the public sector, women have however been the most affected.
The erosion of wages has seen public sector employees survive below the poverty datum line as wages nosedived from the US$540(2018) to the equivalent of $200(2021).
“Being a woman is hard. You have to be a mother at the same time compete for a promotion at work. Parental leave, maternity leave, social protection, medical aid is now being taken as a privilege and not as a right which make it a problem,”
“Which employer would want his employee to go to her in-law’s funeral, come back attend to a sick child and take days off during menstruation for period pains. Being a woman is demanding,” said Dr Labode.