More women than men lost their jobs globally during the Covid-19 pandemic, statistics released ahead of International Women’s Day have revealed.

United Association of South Africa (UASA) trade union spokesperson Abigail Moyo said the organisation supported the IndustriALL Global Union’s campaign to combat the ‘regressive impacts of Covid 19 on women workers’ and called on trade unions to reflect on gender inequality in the workplace to mark the day.

She said UASA also supported the motion for ‘Women in leadership and achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world’ while the scourge of gender based violence needed to be tackled.

“We believe that gender inequality and gender-based violence are serious concerns that still affect women worldwide and need urgent intervention. UASA is deeply concerned about the high rate of gender-based violence in South Africa and across the world as more and more vulnerable women continue being victimised in the workplace and at home, even during this time when the world is fighting a pandemic,” Moyo said.

She added in her statement, released to mark International Women’s Day, that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) had reported that more women than men had lost jobs due to the COVID-19 crisis, with 5% of women losing their employment in 2020 versus 3.9% for men. 

“UASA calls on organisations to closely observe gender inequality in the workplace as we all know that women are underrepresented in most sectors,” she said.

“These devastating statistics prove that it is essential that the government make swift progress with the Convention 190 (C190) ratification of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

International Women’s Day call to action

The C190 advocates for the protection of women and elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work and at home. UASA urged trade unions to show solidarity this International Women’s Day and protect women in the workplace by:

·       eradicating all forms of gender inequality

·       breaking sector barriers faced by women in workplaces, especially when it comes to obtaining leadership roles

·       developing structures that will protect women against gender-based violence in the workplace

·       allowing women to be vocal and express themselves fairly

·       moving away from patriarchal standards that do not favour women

·       raising awareness and providing education to union members and society at large

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Presh JM Reporter

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