JOBS & Women and unemployment: Way forward
It is no gain saying unemployment is one of the major challenges confronting the country. We have a dicey situation where millions of ablebodied men and women are willing to work but cannot find work or are doing jobs which are not commensurate with the wages.
The high unemployment rate amongst youth, women and men alike does not only pose a serious danger to the economy, encourages crime but also increases the poverty rate in the country to mention a few.
Most of the applicants who lost their lives during the botched immigration test last month were women including pregnant women and nursing mothers.
Professor Ekhator Victor Eghe of the Department of Public Administration, University of Abuja quoting Fapohunda (2012) said “The global economic recession and the gulf between job creation and the growth in the number of job seekers have also worsened the employment situation for women and men alike.
“But women face greater vulnerabilities in the labour market because of their relative lack of education and training, the tendency to channel women into certain occupations, and the continuous heavy burdens of unpaid domestic work, child-bearing and childcare, which restrict the time and energy available for income earning activities. Women’s participation in the formal sector employment in Nigeria is low,” he said.
Professor Eghe said the situation shows that women deserve urgent attention in order to improve their living conditions, adding that what is urgently needed is empowerment that will create income and wealth and when this is done, invariably national development will become all encompassing.
The South-South Professional Women Association (SSPWA), yesterday held a round table meeting in Abuja with the theme: ‘Women, Employment and Job Security’.
President of the association, Dr Timiebi Koripamo-Agary said the main reason the event was organized was because they observed a lot of people especially women have problems securing jobs, and a lot of women are vulnerable to all kinds of hazards when it comes to getting employed.
Represented by her deputy Dr Felicia Onibon, she said: “Having known that government cannot do it alone we decided to bring in various stakeholders who can come up with some practical ways in which the problem can be addressed not just in the South- South region but all over the country. That is why we brought stakeholders to proffer solutions.”
On the way forward, she advised parents to allow their children to go for careers of their choice saying parents choosing or forcing careers on their children also causes unemployment.
She said that is why we find several doctors or lawyers today who do not practice because they only read such courses to satisfy their parents and then start looking for jobs on what they know they can do very well adding that in worse scenarios, many of such children fail in school or fail to get jobs because they are not good in what they studied .
In his paper at the event, Professor Ekhator Victor Eghe said the employment policy should be designed in such a way as to focus on the situation confronting women to promote women employment. He recommended the following measures for the promotion of women employment:
-Expansion and diversification of education and training opportunities available to women
-Stimulation of the growth of some of the industries and occupation in which women have substantial share in employment.
-Promotion of self employment and small industry employment among women by ensuring a reasonable share of credit and other aid for potential women entrepreneurs and cooperatives.
-Provision of female labour in all national development plans.
He said the following measures will help solve rural and urban unemployment:
Rapid economic development; especially quick and diversified industrialization. This he said will create new opportunities of employment for educated persons and skilled workers.
Establishment of a national commission for employment; with a similar one at the state level which makes period reports on employment situation to the President, Governors, the State Houses of Assembly and the National Assembly.
There should be spread of new farm technology in order to increase the employment potential for agriculture.
Vocationalising education – the present too much literary educational system should be given a technical and vocational bias.
In addition, he suggested ; change in investment pattern, the provision of liberal institutional finance , policy for educated manpower, change in social structure, establishment of new development centres especially in rural areas and small towns, population planning, rural electrification schemes should be quickened to enhance employment opportunities, training should be organized for rural unemployed like farmers in fishery, plantations, and starting small scale industries among others.
Prof Eghe said the magnitude of unemployment can be reduced if there is proper coordination between economic planning and employment policy, rapid economic development through the growth of primary, secondary , tertiary sectors, among others.
Some of the ways forward stated in the communiqué issued by South-South Professional Women Association (SSPWA), after the meeting include; the Need for Guidance, Counseling and Mentoring of young girls for their vocation or career in life, the desirability of proper statistics of unemployment especially the statistics of unemployed women in Nigeria, women need to network to support one another especially in the area of finance -such support needs to be timely, accessible and relevant. Government should create policies for women to easy access for soft loans and grants to set up small scale businesses.
Others include; Formulating policies to pay mothers who have no jobs but manage the homes and procreate thereby building the workforce of the country, government should increase the number of spaces for women in every facet of the economy and emphasize increase in vocational skills for women and young girls.
Mrs Amina Salisu on her part suggested that there is need for Communities to call leaders at federal, states and local government to question, saying many state governments receive allocations with which they can provide employment and improve the lives of the people yet many in their states are unemployed and suffering.
Comrade Francisca Nweke of the Nigeria Labour Congress in her paper on ‘Social Justice: Women, Employment and Job Security,’ suggested that the imbalance between men and women should be addressed including reducing disparities income, working conditions, benefits and privileges, provision of crèches at workplace .
While they are not saying commercial sex workers are doing the right thing, since morality is a personal issue , it is injustice for the authorities to arrest commercial sex workers for illegal trade without arresting those who patronize them because illegal trade takes both a buyer and a seller.
Nweke said more importantly, affirmative action should be implemented to give equity and accommodate employment for women.