By Dan Alot Okello
The Covid-19 pandemic that lasted for almost two years greatly affected the lives of women and girls in Uganda and left significant scars on women who are out of work and those striving to reintegrate in the world of work.
Women have suffered double tragedy despite their wish to be linked or placed in gainful opportunities in Uganda and beyond.
The global pandemic escalated levels of dependency among women and the cases of domestic violence in homes were high due to the economic strain on the men who were not earning as much due to lockdown and as a result many homes were broken.
The soaring rates of separation created a need for women to assume more gainful employment to sustain their families.
With a few of the women having hands-on skills and that have started small business ventures where they put their various skills like hair dressing, tailoring, cooking and gardening among others to effective use amid challenges of connecting with the right clients, other women have also pursued technical courses in engineering and ICT.
The labour market remains male dominated with many having trouble reintegrating themselves into the workforce after Covid-19 lockdown.
This is due to the preconceived notions among many people that men are better suited to manage the technical jobs than women and yet in instances women have proven themselves to be more efficient due to their innate ability to multitask and diligence.
Even though there are few female technicians, I must say they perform better than the males. Pretty bold statement, huh!
Think about it. Women do most things better, men are more on the edge of strength, but that is about it, as the technical nature of hands-on work requires more skill than strength.
Society bias aside, many women are suffering the strain of balancing their work and managing families which limits their opportunities to network and expand their social circle, yet most small businesses rely on social networking to grow.
The fundamental question is: how can skilled women be integrated to connect easily with the clients for gigs in the job market?
The answer would ultimately be addressed with the first changing digital migration in store after the pandemic that has grossly seen the e-commerce platforms grown to conduct business transactions online in Uganda and the rest of world.
Getting to learn about an innovation powered by Martline Fundi Africa in Uganda that has developed a mobile app dubbed “Fundi” that will connect skilled personnel and technicians to the job market with just a click on the App, one is able to reach 1000+ technicians in the various field of work.
I would be quick to say, this is the migration that we need digitally to enable women integrate and connect to the world of work without discrimination as they will stand equal chances of being profiled on merit and getting listed on the Fundi database accessed by clients.
Reechoing the Sustainable Development Goals 5 and 8 which aim to ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’ and ‘Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all’ the government should continue to embrace new pro-women agenda to bolster the existing policies on women integration in employment.
In as much as the government of Uganda is committed to promote gender equity in all sectors, a lot more effort is needed to coercively implement the policies at hand with the trend in the changing world of digital evolution to curb the vices of unemployment among women.
Concisely, to empower all women, the youth and other special interest groups by leveling the play field and offering them a fair opportunity to the labour market and to develop their skills.
Government should allocate enough resources and fund innovative ideas that aim at bridging the employment gab in the country.
For the great nation to see its Vision 2040, women must be supported and integrated in self or gainful decent employment. Happy Women Day!
The author is a skills and employability specialist