Working women face precarious condition, surveys say

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Women have been working in challenging situations across textile and apparel as well as flower farms and hospitality industries, revealed new assessment surveys conducted by a group of researchers.

Firehiwot Sintayehu and Kibur Engdawork have conducted a survey dubbed “The State and Transformation of Female Wage Labour in Ethiopia: The Case of Textile/Garment industries”.

Meanwhile, Tesfaye Zeleke (PhD) and Kiya Gezahegne (PhD) conducted their survey on “The State and Transformation of Female Wage Workers in Ethiopia: Practices from Selected Floriculture Farms”.

The surveys were presented at Elilly Hotel this week in a panel discussion organized by Forum for Social Studies (FSS), an independent, non-profit institution dedicated to the cause of policy research and democratizing the policy space through informed public debate of development issues and concerns.

Regarding the findings of the survey on textile or garment factories, it was conducted in 12 garment factories, in small and medium garment enterprises and industrial village in Addis Abeba.

Bole Lemi I, Hawassa Industrial Park and Addis industry village were initially selected for the surveys. However, Bole Lemi I and Hawassa were excluded due to their Covid-19 restriction. Female working at these industrial parks have low educational background coupled with short employment tenure appear to limit their chance to climb to senior and higher positions, according to the survey focused on the state of women in textile industrial parks.

Women are perceived more likely be able to trained in various job types with relative ease in the textile industries than men.

Moreover, women are quicker hands, patient to seat and stand for long hours and more willing to accept low amount of salary as they are secondary sources of income, the survey indicated.

At the same time, from about 42.1% of the female workers reported are likely that they could lose their job and from this 53.5% did not have written contractual agreement with their employers.

As a result, they have uncertainty and bleak future, the survey further indicated.

On the other hand, high level positions like management are often occupied by men whereas women are the majority in lower level structures in the floriculture farms.

Most consulted informants mentioned the absence of violation of rights at work in the floriculture farms, according to a survey conducted by Tesfaye Zeleke and Kiya Gezahegne.

The survey conducted on floriculture farms further indicated that there were tendencies of the presence of few cases and instance of discrimination, harassment and unfair treatment targeting female laborers.

Establishing functional gender unit in each flower farms, facilitating the establishment of labor unions and supporting women and setting minimum wage and hostel at industrial parks are among the recommendations suggested by the surveys.

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