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SHE Also Wants and Deserves Decent Work

“He’s a guy with decent job.” “He has the perfect credentials for the job.” “Professionalism” and “Decent Work” are some of the greatest attributes a man can have. Both men and women in my country, and in many other places in the world, have come to accept that, when it comes to having a rewarding career, the quality of masculinity is all-important. But are men the only creatures who are competent? What about their counterpart, WOMEN?

Why are we affected by gender from the moment we are born? Both women and men across the globe work very hard. Women hold up half the sky. Men’s work, however, is always perceived as more notable than women’s work. Throughout history, the work that women do has often not even been seen as “work.” In fact, the role of women in all aspects of society remains unappreciated. Even in this 21st century, in some conservative societies, “women with decent work” is uncommon notion. We are half the world’s population, yet we do two-thirds of the world’s work – thus you can’t say that SHE doesn’t work hard. Yet women earn one-tenth of the world’s wages, and own less than one per cent of the world’s wealth. We, women, are among the poorest of the poor.

If women work so hard, why do they get very little income? Obviously, much of women’s work like family and community work is unpaid. Yet even when women hold paying jobs, their salaries are often lower than men’s. This happens in developed, industrialized countries, too. What are the reasons behind this injustice?

In Burma where I was born and have grown up, traditional culture supports gender stereotypes and a belief that education is less crucial for girls than for boys, especially in times of hardship. Subsequently, women often get less education than men, resulting in a lack of opportunity for gaining well-paid jobs. Even when we have the same education and competencies as our male rivals, women are still paid less because men are regarded as the breadwinners. Additionally, as a result of having unequal opportunity, fewer women participate in workers unions or other associations that promote worker rights. As long as we can’t acquire equal access to education, REAL change will elude us.

Another reason why women are left far behind men is because tasks that girls are traditionally taught, such as cooking and sewing, are rewarded less than the type of work that boys are trained to do, like building and working with machines. Also, despite the fact that women are able to perform jobs that were traditionally dominated by men, women are still viewed as weaker. The fact is, some women are physically stronger than some men, and some males are more caring than their feminine counterparts. It’s clear that differences in capabilities are more likely due to a person’s individual qualities rather than their sex. Thus, despite traditional views, men and women can clearly do similar work and should be provided an equal access to training.

Some women have broken through these barriers and made great progress, becoming scientists and space pioneers. Even so, the attention paid to women in science and the world of technology is often dimmer than the coverage of men’s contributions. I have personally felt this bias when, after spending five years in the university specializing in IT, the alumni still considers technology professions to be reserved for men.

2011 is the time for a wake-up call. March 8th is the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. It’s time to reflect on the historic struggles and achievements of women. The future of our women and girls requires us to listen to their previously unheard voices and to help them tap into sources of wealth, such as education, training and equal access to jobs that pay well.

This year the UN’s IWD theme is “Equal access to education, training, science and technology: Pathway to decent work” This affirms the importance of the idea that “HE is not the only one who wants and deserves a decent work.” We must use this opportunity to promote the notion that both sexes can walk together on the same pathway to a better quality of life.

This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future, which is providing rigorous web 2.0 and new media training for 30 emerging women leaders. We are speaking out for social change from some of the most unheard regions of the world.

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AchiengNas's picture

Getting to course

Great article!
To ALL women around the world reading this journal, to all mothers, to all baby girls, teens and youths;
Let us embrace Education of the girls as a basic need, like salt or sugar. Educate the women, girls and children.
I am talking to a woman who dropped out of school because of ABC, whether you are 70years or 19 years, do your best to go back to school NEVER too late. Let us embrace sciences and technology, let us enterprise, let us challenge the men with our innovations. Go for gold, go for the so called-men-jobs!!!

Thank you so much for this Op Ed.

Love,

Beatrice

I believe everybody has the potential to live a better life. Given the Opportunity, Education and Motivation ANYONE can become someone admirable. Nobody is a NOBODY, everybody is SOMEBODY.

Insha Allah's picture

Thanks

Dear sister,

Thank you so much for your encouraging comment. I believe education is the cornerstone of development process. As long as women and girls cannot access to adequate education, we are in so-called development and our world never reach to a real development.

Best regards,
Insha Allah

Shwe Wutt Hmon

Celine's picture

Absolutely

I absolutely agree with Beatrice. No more time to sit on the fence but side by side in true equality. Women have right to equal education. Education will empower us to say no to indecent work. An adage in the eastern Nigeria says that any person who refuses to leak her/his own lips stands the risk of having harmatan dry up the lips for her/him. Women are arrow heads in the homes, they often determine the course of their home running. If women as mothers give equal encouragement and support to both girl and boy children, before the next two decades, we will have a world filled with educated, highly skilled, motivated and courageous women bracing up to challenging positions.

Great! Many women have broken through barriers and made remarkable progress in various carriers. Whether women are given attention in the carriers is an issue women should aggressively demand or fight for. The bible said that the kingdom of God suffereth violence and the violent shall take it by force. The issue of stereotypes and gender bias on abilities have eaten deep into societies that women do not have to fold hands and wait until they are given their due right as citizens. Women have to avail themselves of all available instruments to reclaim their rights in societies. A woman came to my office last week to seek advice. She labored together with her husband many years ago and they acquired landed property where they built a house. She later lost her only two children to death. When the marriage could not produce another children, her husband forced her to sign an undertaking that she would be paid of with 100,000 Naira to leave her marital home - the house she substantially contributed to build, ...to vacate the house so that he could bring in another wife. She ignorantly signed the document but refused to vacate because she does not have any place to live. Their marriage was only signed in the church, she is ignorant of court wedding. One good thing is that she is in possession of the documents to the property, some of the documents bear Mr and Mrs her husband's name, even though her name is not specified as the Mrs. But she has vowed to herself not to release the documents to the husband hence she seeks for legal advice.

Insha Allah's picture

Thank you so much!

Hi

Thanks for your comment and sharing interesting powerful story from your community. Women may be vulnerable but we are so strong. I am very interested to read the update of her story. I hope she can fight against unfairness for her property.

Best regards,
Insha Allah

Insha Allah

Shwe Wutt Hmon

Insha Allah's picture

Thanks

Hi

Thanks for your comment and sharing interesting powerful story from your community. Women may be vulnerable but we are so strong. I am very interested to read the update of her story. I hope she can fight against unfairness for her property.

Best regards,
Insha Allah

Shwe Wutt Hmon

Frances Faulkner's picture

great reminder

Insha Allah--

Thank you for reminding us about International Women's Day and offering it as a focal point for us to galvanize energy and continue the push forward. Women are incredibly capable and education is always the place to start, both the education of women and girls in all subjects, as well as the education of men who do not understand how much women have to offer.

Love your energy!

Frances

Insha Allah's picture

Thanks

Thank you so much for your encouraging comment.In the world today individual men and women can be trained to improve similar activities. Differences in abilities and talents are more significant in individualism than sexism.

Best regards,
Insha Allah

Shwe Wutt Hmon

Dear Insha!

WHEN YOUR TERRITOTY IS INVADED WHO CAN SIT AND BEHOLD THE MASSIVE DESTRUCTION, OH NO! THE LEGACY MUST CHANGE, WE ARE ALL ALIKE IN THE SIGHT OF GOD.NO ONE DESERVES DESCRIMINATION / MISTREATMENT. MEN THINKS THEMSELVES MORE SUPERIOR THAN WOMEN.THERE IS NOTHING ON EARTH THAT A WOMAN CANNOT DO.WE ARE ALL ABLE.

Here in my country, this has been looked into. And i still see men would not want to bother themslves when it comes to helping women, they always say yes; you women , you said you want equality, so now enjoy your labour, huh ! work,work women, so we are all men.The situation here, is that men oppresses women by telling them to do the so called dominated male jobs .However,

Botswana has taken significant measures to create a policy environment that promotes gender equality. Descriminatory laws have been reviewed. Political commitment to gender is reflected in appointments to
cabinet and senior positions in the civil service, and the establishment of a full fledged
department responsible for coordinating the implementation of government policy on gender. Moreover, my beloved country is working hard to reduce gender disparity in all eduction, to reduce gender disparity in access to control of productive resources, to reduce descrimination and violence against women as well incidence of rape. Also she is working on raising women's participation in leadership and decision making.

Thank you so much for THE WAKE UP CALL MESSAGE, this is great Insha, I love this piece to bits gal. There is hope as long as we continue to raise our voices we willnever be put to shame.Keep writing.Excellent work!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All the best

Warona

"success will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time " And when confronted conquer with love

Insha Allah's picture

Gender equality

Dear sister Warona,

Thank you so much for your encouraging comment and sharing the story from community. We learn from each other. Sure! Women can do it. No more or no less than men! We are equal!

Best regards,
Insha Allah

Shwe Wutt Hmon

Laura Golakeh's picture

HEY

NICE ARTICLE.I AM TOUCHED.

"Our time has finally come"

Insha Allah's picture

Thanks!

Dear sister Laura,

Thank you so much for your encouraging comment. We all are doing nice jobs.

With Love,
Insha Allah

Shwe Wutt Hmon

Ruun Abdi's picture

What a powerful op-ed you

What a powerful op-ed you wrote! Congratulations. ;)

Cheers,
RA

Insha Allah's picture

Thank you so much!

Dear sister RA,

Thanks a lot for your encouraging comments. We all are powerful and doing great jobs. I'm very proud of being in a group of amazing women.

With Love,
Insha Allah

Shwe Wutt Hmon

consolata's picture

Lets Not forget our strength.

Dia Insha,
I am sooo touched with your article and as we approach the international Womens Day, I hope most Worls Pulse friends will have read the article. Really inspiring..

Happy IWD..
Love Consolata

Insha Allah's picture

Thank you so much!

Dear Consolata,

Thanks a lot for your encouraging comment. As I am from the country where many of the grassroots communities even don't know the existence of IWD except some international organizations in the cities like Yangon and Mandalay, one of my dreams is women from across the globe can make a voice timely.

With Love,
Insha Allah

Shwe Wutt Hmon

Farona's picture

Insha ! I love your final

Insha ! I love your final work ! -- equal access to education and training is one of the ways to eliminate inequality. I am so glad Int'l woman's day is focusing on this theme this year ;- )

Good Work sis !

Insha Allah's picture

Thank you so much!

Dear sister Farona,

Thanks a lot for your encouraging comment. I believe by highlighting UN's IWD theme for this year, I can create a op-ed to grab the attention for the betterment of women. I hope women from across the globe can celebrate IWD.

Best regards,
Insha

Shwe Wutt Hmon

BarbaraLH's picture

Important Message

Your writing can teach people - women and men -- "that both sexes can walk together on the same pathway to a better quality of life." Good job!

Insha Allah's picture

with your support!

Dear Barbara,

Thank you so much for your encouraging comment. Without the support of Lisa and you, I cannot have done such a job.

With Love,
Insha Allah

Shwe Wutt Hmon

Nancy WiseWoman's picture

Decent Work for Women

Your op-ed piece is excellent, Insha. I feel inspired and motivated by it. You express your own personal situation as well as use statistics very effectively. I live in the U.S. and though we are much better than many countries we still have discrimination and less pay for similar work. Keep up your sense of outrage and make your voice heard!
Gratefully,
Nancy Cosgriff

Nancy Cosgriff

Insha Allah's picture

ႊႊThanks

Dear Nancy Cosgriff,

Thank you so much for your encouraging comment. I might say my country has pretty equal rights for women with the men but the stigma that is only men deserve in decent works is still existed. I see there is still an unequal pay for women even in developed countries. Why? That's the issue we have to figure out and overcome to a goal.

With Love,
Insha

Shwe Wutt Hmon

Nancy WiseWoman's picture

Yes! You are right! I am

Yes! You are right! I am glad that there are women like you who will work for this cause! Thank you!

Nancy Cosgriff

Rachael Maddock-Hughes's picture

Brilliant!

This is a great piece Insha Allah! I applaud the timeliness and the subject of your op-ed--and you were able to say a lot in a very limited space! I think the focus of the UN IWD theme could not be more right on--we should get equal pay for equal work and we should be counted for the unappreciated work that we do. And there is no time like the present---with a global economic melt-down, men are no longer often the breadwinners, and these antiquated ideas only serve to hurt everyone.

Great job!

Rachael

"In every human heart there are a few passions that last a lifetime. They're with us from the moment we're born, and nothing can dilute their intensity." Rob Brezny

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