- OverviewWomen are the driving force to the advancement of every society when countries create amelioration to assist women with adequate needs. Women in South Africa have not received a proper amount of assistance. South African women are somehow marginalized from the developing process while facing several restricting social norms.
What Issues Faced Women Before COVID?
Though the world advances, women’s prospects in Africa are still determined by race, social class, and gender when it comes to gaining access to amenities and other opportunities. These are the determinants of the prevailing political, social, and economic inequalities that African women encounter in contemporary society.
The disproportionate influences imposed on women have posed an immense threat to food security worldwide, especially the developing countries. According to the report from UNFPA, in 2020, women made up for 43% of the agricultural workforce in developing countries yet they were estimated to take up 2/3 of the world’s 600 million poverty-stricken livestock keepers. Women are unprotected from violence and work exploitation in countries where social norms prevent them from harvesting their land. Besides, violence targeting women is one of the main barriers to allow them to participate in reinforcing the economic systems.
In terms of women’s work, the research from UNFPA in 2021 revealed that women’s work is often underappreciated and women are usually given poorly remunerated occupations in clerical and elementary work. Despite the limited work opportunities for both genders, women have to encounter several additional demerits as well as discrimination. These discriminations could be illustrated as follows: The number of women being underutilized stood at around 25%, while men stood at approximately 19%. In addition, about one-third of women have contributed to the number of family workers, which means in many countries in the sub-region, property rights are leaning towards males- the prominent landholders, instead of women. Another factor leading to women in East and Southern Africa’s weaker socioeconomic status is that women hold accountability for unpaid care work of children, sick, and elderly relatives, alongside taking care of the general housework.
What Issues Faced Women During COVID?
The main factor impeding the process of women empowerment in Africa at the moment is the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID has posed an immense challenge for organizations to reach out to women and help them engage in the process of developing themselves. According to research, the resources stripped away from women will detrimentally impact women’s health and cause potential economic implications. The proportion of women in the health sector accounted for nearly 70% of the global population, and thus they are more susceptible to the exposure of COVID-19. During the harsh conditions of the pandemic, the research by UNFPA and UN Women in 2021 revealed that women who had more inferior socioeconomic statuses than men before the pandemic are more likely to be affected. Technology has proven to be an indispensable part of assisting people with support regarding facilities and medications during the pandemic. However, the existent gender digital divide affects women’s ability to gain sufficient support or services to adapt to the new business landscape. This technological gap also aggravates how women could undertake the roles as employees to social distancing constraints, followed by the research by UNFPA.
What Should Be Done Now?
CSWOI has actively engaged in women’s empowerment across both Ghana and South Africa. CSWOI has empowered over 500 women with various business skills through business conferences, training, and seminars, thereby increasing their employability and relevance to job seekers while building independence. In addition, due to the critical effects of the noble COVID-19 pandemic on businesses across nations, CSWOI has undertaken the responsibility of organizing business seminars for existing corporate firms, small and medium scale businesses. Acknowledging the importance of women in the economic landscape and social construction, CSWOI continues to seek help in order to empower women from all walks of life and enhance their engagement in daily activities.