Market women and street vendors led by Naguru Woman Councilor, Florence Aciro have appealed to men especially their husbands to support them with up-paid care work which would allow them space to participate in more other economic activities.
The women who formed themselves into Naguru Traders Cooperative made the call while meeting a team from Girls Forum International (GAF), Oxfam-Uganda, UWONET who were reflecting on the challenges and successes of the Un-paid Care Program under the Women’s Economic Empowerment and Care (WE-Care) program.
“We risk our lives to provide for our families, we are constantly under attack from Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) who have termed our business illegal; despite the risks, our husbands have let the house work to us, we are not asking them to pay us for the work we do at home but let them get involved and help with the house work,” Aciro said.
Josephine Among a street vendor and a mother of two said that some of their husbands abandon their responsibilities of providing to their families on learning that the women are earning from the small business.
“I am even more comfortable being a single mother, you can imagine after risking your life on the street, the man waits to grab your money and go drinking as well as expecting you to do all the house work including caring for him,” Among said.
GAF Programs Director, Charles Kalule said that the WE-CARE Program funded by Oxfam and implemented by GAF in Kampala is aimed at recognizing, reducing, representing and redistributing Un-paid care work.
Across the continent and elsewhere in the world, unpaid care work sustains communities and economies, it provides essential care for children, sick and elderly people, and people with disabilities.
“This work falls disproportionately on women and girls, limiting their opportunities to participate in decent paid employment, education, leisure and political life,” Kalule said.
According to the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC), women in Uganda provide up to 20 hours per week of unpaid care work—twice as much time as men and boys.
To address the unequal distribution of care, Oxfam, the Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET), Girls Forum International, Makerere University School of Gender Studies, and Forum for Rights Awareness and Monitoring (FORAMO) engaged with government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) and other actors at different levels to implement policy frameworks that respond to care, such as improving access to water and care-responsive infrastructure.
The WE-Care programme likewise worked with men and boys to promote mindset and attitude change at the community level, so care is redistributed equally among family members.
“It is no longer strange to talk about care. But there is more work to do on budget and public investment in social sectors to reduce the care workload of women,” said Oxfam in Uganda Country Director Francis Odokorach.