A day in the life of an African woman

When we speak of the “poorest of the poor,” we often refer to women, poor men in the developing world have even poorer wives and children.

And there is no doubt that recession, debt crisis and structural adjustment policies have placed the heaviest burden on poor women, who earn less, own less and control less.

A woman’s work is never done she is usually the first to get up in the morning and the last to go to sleep at night, women around the world carry on double load. Caring for the home and family and working in factories and fields, shops, offices and other people’s homes.

Women are one-third of the world’s labour force but they tend to be employed in lower paid occupations than men. Just as society undervalues the work women do in the homes. So their skills are undervalued when applied to work outside in the world of employment.

Women sometimes encounter gender discrimination in various fields of national life one of such obstacles is the economic opportunities and access to credit and financial facilities. In the political realm, political office holders often marginalized women in lopsided appointment. In the socio-cultural realm women also suffer from sexual harassment, gender tokenism, early marriages, higher illiteracy rate, discrimination, domestic violence, single-women stigma and the harassment of widows in the field of family matters. Women are especially affected by the current inadequacy of health care facilities, high infant mortality.

Mostly, their efforts are unrecognized and undervalued and they are lower paid than men (if paid at all). Yet global economic changes structural adjustment policies, the growing power of transnational corporations and the economic crisis in many poor countries are forcing more women to enter the labour force to support themselves and their families.

It is women who bear the brunt of managing poverty, often reducing their own consumption to protect their children and partners from the effort of poverty, not only is not recognition given to the way in which the unpaid lobour women contributes to the living standards of the family as a whole, but also there is no recognition of the very low material reward that women receive in return for their work. Women workers are often in greater risk of household chores−(washing, gathering word, feeding the children and send them to school, collection of water, cooking and washing dishes).

The family should radiate natural love, respect, selflessness, and sacrifice and should built on sound morals obedience and responsibility, care of children, and of the elderly as well as respect for elders and weaker members of the family, sharing, caring and social cohesion are essential element of family values.

  • Aliyu Umar is the acting Head, Strategic Communications Bureau of Public Service Reforms and can be reached via aliyu.umar@bpsr.gov.ng

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