JOBS & Women and un­em­ploy­ment: Way for­ward

Daily Trust - - JOBS & CAREER - By Ojoma Akor Ex­hausted women job ap­pli­cants dur­ing the Im­mi­gra­tion re­cruit­ment on March 15

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.

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