Career women tend to fall back once they become mothers. The limited maternity leave (6 weeks), forces working mothers to choose between their careers and raising healthy babies.
To curb this, why not introduce child care facilities at work places so that women can continue with their careers without missing out on the beauty of motherhood? Women too, need to live by their life choices just like their male colleagues.
A three-day long, All-African Conference on Gender and Media which was held on August 26 to 28, 2011 at Kigali Serena Hotel, highlighted several challenges faced by women in the workforce.
Under the theme ‘Empowering African Women Journalists: Stepping up to the challenge of gender equality,’ different issues were raised and possible solutions tabled.
Beth Costa, General Secretary, International Federation of Journalist (IFJ) acknowledged the fact that the establishment of child care facilities at work places is a way forward for women empowerment.
“We all have personal stories that have led us to the positions we are holding currently. For women to be where they are, they not only require rights in their respective unions/ organizations, but there should be public policies that defend them as mothers,” Costa explained.
She explained that it was still a continuous struggle for women across the world to balance their careers and child care duties.
“In our unions (Brazil), we emphasized that women can bring their children to conferences and get someone to take care of them during the different sessions. This gives women the chance not to have to choose between their children and work,” she expressed.
Other challenges that women in the media profession faced include fair deals at work, closing the pay gap and flexible working conditions.
Lungile Lushozi, President of Media Workers Association of South Africa (MWASA) said women had to be more assertive and not wait to be offered what they already deserved.
“To get to the position I hold currently, I didn’t wait for the men to give me opportunity, I pressured them to give me the opportunity,” said Lushozi.
She added that there is no much difference between men and women when it comes to career ability.
“We are all men it’s only that a woman has the womb that carries man. Therefore, women are capable of doing what men can do. We should believe in ourselves if we want men to believe in us. If we change our mindset then we will lead by example.” Lushozi emphasized.
Several debates surrounded the gender equality approach in the workplace. The fact that men and women should work as partners rather than competing rivals was addressed.
Partners are supposed to bring out the best of each other and aim for greatness.