Protect women at work, Mukwaya to employers

Gender, Labour and Social Development minister, Janat Mukwaya has called on labour actors at the international scene to ensure that more efforts are put into protecting women against violence and harassment at work.

Mukwaya was speaking at the 107th session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva Switzerland where she said women are more often subjected to violence and harassment at work.

She said although violence against women is widely acknowledged, unfortunately few people raise a voice against it.

“For others, the violence and harassment because of conservative stereotypes, is seen as a reality that has to be tolerated as part of life. I am therefore pleased that the International Labour Organisation is working on an international labour standard on ending violence and harassment at work,” Mukwaya said.

Mukwaya is leading the government of Uganda delegation which includes the Permanent Secretary of the Gender, Labour and Social Development Ministry Pius Bigirimana who was appointed Spokesperson for the Africa Group under the Committee for Standard setting on Violence and harassment in the world of work.

She said women must be permitted to take their destiny into their hands through education, employment creation and enterprise development and appealed for the establishment of well-resourced and functioning institutions against violence at work as per the standard setting.

“Similarly, imbalances in asset ownership especially land should also be addressed. This is because where males own and control land, access to finance will also be skewed in favor of men yet capital is crucial for improvement of livelihoods of women through enterprise development,” Mukwaya said.

She added that in the same spirit, governments should give preferential consideration to women-owned enterprises in procurement as a measure of empowering women since the majority of women are excluded from this business window today.

Mukwaya said Gender gaps are a matter of concern since women are associated globally with 30 per cent less chance of being in the labour force and often being at the bottom of the economic ladder.

“Women continue to be paid approximately 20 per cent less than men per month across the world, even when they are engaged in the same work of equal value.”