BY PATRICK JARAMOGI
KAMPALA, Uganda|SHIFTMEDIA| Would you pay your wife for the domestic work such as washing dishes, washing clothes, and cooking?
Now this is the debate being fronted by Oxfam-Uganda and the Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET).
Apparently, while domestic, national, and international laws and policies acknowledge the existence of unpaid care and domestic work, this has not translated into effective recognition, and this is the call that Oxfam, UWONET, and other NGOs and women rights activists are advocating for.
Unpaid care work is recognised as a women’s rights, economic, and equality issue under the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
While launching Phase 4 of the Women’s Economic Empowerment and Care project at Mestil Hotel in Kampala on Tuesday, the UWONET Executive Director Rita Aciro noted that on average, women are spending up to eight hours daily on domestic and unpaid care work compared with just four hours that men spend.
“The amount of time women spend on unpaid care work denies them the opportunity to participate in meaningful community development,” said Aciro.
She urged the government to put in policies that will recognize unpaid care work in Uganda.
Shanty Francis Odokorach, the new Oxfam Uganda Country Director urged the Government of Uganda to have a gender lens in supporting democratic principles.
“The COVID19 experience has proved to us that using a flexible working arrangement, we can still deliver. To men out there, helping in in domestic work doesn’t make you a lesser man, I do the same while at home,” said Odokorach the project launch attended by leading women activists, Members of Parliament, and academicians.
Charity Namara the Women’s Rights Project Coordinator said during the fourth phase that runs for three years from 2020- 2023, they will be working closely with the private sector and the newly formed cities of Gulu and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).
“We want to see the budget increased for care infrastructure. Under this phase, we shall do a lot to shape public opinion on gender narrative,” said Namara.
M/s Jane Mpagi Sanyu, a Care Economy Specialist said many women in Uganda were struggling because they can’t balance between their formal employment and unpaid care work.
“If government considers paying for the unpaid work, we would see much more productivity, she said.
Mpagi was among the panelists that discussed the aspects of unpaid care work. Another Panelist, Julius Makunda, the Executive Director Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) urged the government to consider budgeting for unpaid care work in the next financial year 2020/22.
Commenting on how Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) had positioned its self to address issues of unpaid care work in Kampala, the KCCA Executive Director M/s Dorothy Kisaka said they have plans to create nursing homes in all its seven health centers spread across Kampala.
“As KCCA we started by putting in place child care facilities at our Kasubi and Wandegeya markets because unpaid care work also extends to health,” said Kisaka.
Kasese Women MP and former Leader Of Opposition in Parliament Hon. Winnie Kizza said: “It really bothers me that women have to choose between home roles and work, yet if we all had a share of the domestic work, the burden of care work on women would reduce & create room for women to unlock their full potential in the development of our country.”
Rosa Malango, the UN Resident Coordinator in Uganda in a speech read by her deputy urged government to put in place services like water sources, markets and health centers nearer to the masses to reduce on the amount of hours (time) women spend on accessing them.