Ms. Azumi Mesuna, a consultant on women and gender rights issues, has called on Local Assemblies to prioritise and design policies and initiatives that will alleviate the burden of unpaid care work on women and girls.
She said despite time and energy implications, care work continued to be considered a social contract, causing the plight of burdened women and girls to be ignored.
She insisted that local level input would help stakeholders including the government and development partners, to draw up policies and programmes to improve the current care regime.
Ms. Azumi Mesuna, who facilitated an Action Aid engagement made the call at an outreach with heads of Assemblies, including budget and planning officers of some Municipalities and Districts in the Volta Region.
The programme targets to support Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies across the country to incorporate care sensitive programming and budgeting into their medium plans
“The plight of the daily life of women is not an exaggeration. It is a reality. … Most care work is not done willingly, but is a part of a social contract,” she said.
Ms. Mesuna noted how care work remained an integral part of society with vast economic opportunities that could be taken advantage of and should therefore be considered by stakeholders.
“We must however must not demystify care. We must consider it as an integral part of the home that cannot be thrown away” she said, adding that dialogue between spouses on the subject should be considered “very important.”
The consultant said the nation currently had no national blueprint on women economic empowerment and urged Assemblies to explore opportunities within the 648 billion dollars (about $2,000 per person in the US) global care economy.
She said Action Aid recognised the unending burden of care work and is doing a lot to change the current regime and the status quo.
Ms. Mesuna said the NGO’s had an R studded work plan that seeks to, among others, help realise the “redistribution” and “reduction” and of unpaid care work through appropriate polices, systems and facilities.
She said institutional frameworks for planning and women representations should be established, and therefore planning teams at the Assemblies should play key roles in changing the narrative.
“We need to analyze the situation of unpaid care work to be able to design, formulate and implement policy. Assemblies should get planning right to stop generational work burden on women and girls,” Ms. Mesuna said, also noting the importance of social mobilization, advocacy, and communication.
Dr. Esther Yeboah-Adzimah, Afadzato South District Director of Education, said care work remained an additional burden to the professional especially, and that some women had been stereotyped to help reinforce the belief that care work is a responsibility.
She the policy gap caused unpaid care to remain unappreciated, affecting the basic rights and liberties woman after childbirth.
Dr. Yeboah Adzimah said unpaid care work had negative effects on young girls, stunting their socialization as they develop.
Mr. Israel Akrobeto, Regional Director of the Department of Children, said the non-prioritisation of child issues affected the progress of efforts towards addressing the challenges.
He pointed out the national child planning policy, which called for the formation of child protection committees at national and local levels and said Assemblies must ensure their establishment to help among others, “generate real reports on the ground.”
Mr. Akrobeto also called on Assemblies to consider the role and efforts of the Social Welfare and related departments, which he said played “very important roles.”
“We are supposed to be protecting vulnerable children, but our departments are more than vulnerable,” he lamented.
Rev Isaac Adza Tettey, Economic Planning Officer for the Volta Region, said strategic partnerships would be required, while calling to consider care issues in medium term action plans.
He said Assemblies could seek corporate and private support for belligerent issues such as care, and not necessarily hang the weight on the overburdened local revenue.
She-Vera Anzagira, Program Manager for the NGO in the Greater Accra, Volta, and Oti Regions, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA), the NGO hoped fast track development towards reducing the burden on women, and children to enable the contribute to economic development.
She said the engagement with the Assembly heads formed part of Action Aid’s women rights programming, which had been running for the past four years, and through which it is evaluating care to help facilitate the needed policy interventions.
The Program Manager said the initiative hoped to influence media term development plans of the Assemblies and promote to them the economic viability of the care industry.
“The care industry is big, but in Ghana it is scored zero. This is a prelude to us getting to quantify care, and it could help women give maximum output in economic contributions” she stated.
Action Aid is active in the Ho Municipality and the Adaklu District with various programmes and projects spanning education and women rights and empowerment.