A dialogue has been held in the Bono Regional capital, Sunyani, to increase advocacy against unpaid domestic and care work by women.
Over the years, women have been performing unpaid jobs at home for much longer hours than men, for the betterment of society.
These jobs, which prevent women from working to earn more money, include caring for children and the elderly, household chores, among others.
In collaboration with ActionAid, the dialogue sought to intensify the advocacy on unpaid care work through recognition, reduction, and redistribution of the activities to enable the women to also take up quality and productive ventures outside the home.
Bono Regional Director, Department of Gender, Joycelyn Adii, explained that research has shown that unpaid care work is a hindrance to gender equality and the empowerment of women.
She believes an intensified advocacy on unpaid care work will not only empower women economically, but will also help push forward, the affirmative action bill which is yet to be passed.
“Women spend over 75 per cent of their time on domestic household works with little time to involve in work that brings them financial resources”, she said. She added that this explains why the advocacy has to be moved to a higher level, to achieve a redistribution of the domestic tasks.
Participants in the dialogue session included; traditional leaders, civil society organizations, the public sector, media, planning officers of some selected district assemblies, representatives of the Girl Child and Guidance and Counselling offices of the Ghana Education Service, Women empowerment groups, police wives association, community-based groups, among others.
Mrs Joycelyn Adii, also said some cultural and religious mindsets require reset to achieve the kind of relief women need.
“We are encouraging the society to do away with the socialization we have that is embedded in our tradition that women are to do the household chores while men do something else. Both sexes must know the life-saving skills, and not only women or men”, she said.
Mrs. Adii explained the sensitization is for all the stakeholders to help end that culture.
The Bono Regional Programme Manager of ActionAid, Tontie Binado, noted that the time women spend on unpaid care and domestic work, impedes their access to decent work opportunities as well as basic rights to education, political participation, and leisure.
Though the gendered division of labour affects women globally, Mr. Binado said it is worse for women living in poverty.
He further said most affected young women are not only those who are often underserved by infrastructure and public services but also those who have limited finances to purchase goods and services to substitute the labour required for such work.
The Programmes Manager explained that Sustainable Development Goals 5 requires that, aside from recognizing and valuing unpaid care work, public services, infrastructure, and social protection policies must be provided to promote shared responsibilities for care work within the home.
And over the past years, Tontie Binado said Actionaid, through the Promoting Opportunities for Women Empowerment and Rights (POWER) project, with funding support from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, provided some interventions to reduce the burden of unpaid care work for women living in poverty.
The interventions include the construction of childcare centers in communities to reduce the time women spent to care for young children below 4 years, water harvesting structures, and tricycles to help reduce the burden of care work on women in some communities in the Bono and Ahafo regions.