By Patrick Jaramogi
Work and family issues continue to be the major causes of stress for working women. Women say they need more support for paid family and medical leave, childcare assistance and flexible hours.
But firms have continued to demand mandatory overtime, which makes it impossible for women workers to fulfil their domestic duties.
For many working women, inadequate health insurance is a concern, while for single mothers, job security is an issue because not having a job means there is no way to pay bills and put food on table.
But with all this, women workers have put up a spirited fight to address another issue of discrimination at the workplace.
At the International Women’s Conference in Turkish capital Ankara recently, Uganda’s representative Sarah Nabulya said women are concerned that employers show more respect to male workers than women.
“It came clear that the women across the world face the same problems at the workplace. They are discriminated against in terms of salary payments, even when they have more experience or are more educated,” said Nabulya, who is the treasurer general of the National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU).
She noted that 50% of employed women are in the three lowest paying sectors (agriculture, household, mining and quarrying) compared to 33% of men.
“In the private sector, women are paid lower wages than men for the same work. In three out of nine identified occupations, women earned less than 75% of the average male wage,” she noted.
Nabulya noted that women are also discriminated against when it comes to maternity leave.
“Most employers don’t grant enough time to the women after they give birth. These actions are detrimental to the fundamental human rights of women worldwide,” she said.
Nabulya pointed out that sexual harassment among women is rampant in Uganda and called for tough laws to address the vice.
According to the Uganda National Household Survey, the total labour force was estimated at 10.9 million in 2006, and is projected to reach 19 million by 2015.
The labour force participation rate was 82%, with more males than females. The combined unemployment and underemployment rates accounted for 14% of the labour force.
The over 800 delegates drawn from over 150 countries recommended that capacity building programmes for women at workplaces and trade union be initiated to create a favourable environment for increasing equal employment opportunities while implementing the existing collective bargaining agreements, policies, regulation, laws and guidelines.