Value Me!

“Tens of millions of women and girls around the world are employed as domestic workers in private households. They clean, cook, care for children, look after elderly family members, and perform other essential tasks for their employers.” Human Rights Watch, https://www.hrw.org/topic/womens-rights/domestic-workers

Domestic workers in Uganda are commonly referred to as house helps/maids and are constantly exploited, underpaid and undervalued by many of their bosses. Many of them don’t even have a fixed wage and they are at the mercy of their employers. These conditions are crippling and leave few opportunities for the many girls and women who are domestic workers. Mywage.ug, a salary comparison website in Uganda, highlights these discrepancies:

“There is no fixed wage for a domestic worker. The wage usually depends on what the employer is willing to pay or what the domestic worker is willing to accept. 

In other words an employer can set a very small pay for a domestic worker, since there is no legal obligation thereafter. When domestic workers enter the labour market, they usually don’t know what their rights are. The Minimum Wage in Uganda was set in 1984 and has not been revised since then. Domestic workers are usually paid between Shs 4,000 (US$ 1.78) and Shs 10,000 (US$ 4.44) per month.” http://mywage.ug/home/labour-laws/domestic-workers

A friend who frequently hires domestic help told me how she empowers them in her own way and makes sure something of value is gained from their employment, one way or another.  She engages them in conversation to find out what they are passionate about, this may take awhile depending on the individual (also depending on how long they last as there is frequent turnover in domestic work). On discovering what they want to do with their lives, she either teaches them a skill or partly funds their trade schooling so that they can gain a skill or knowledge in their particular field of interest.

I was surprised by her strategy, this kind of behavior was new to me.  Although she pays her house helps a salary, she takes it upon herself to make them better. She knows that they too are human beings and will benefit from this kind of skill development, just as other professionals benefit from continued training and skill acquisition.

Empowering other women should be a goal for all women around the world because we understand each others’ struggle.

The best form of empowerment is valuing another woman.

 

About Racheal Kizza 11 Articles
Racheal Kizza is a budding entrepreneur with a passion for youth work and fashion. She is a full time project officer at Kyusa, a nonprofit organization that empowers out of school youth in urban slums to become employable. She is a youth leader in different forums, blogger, mentor, public speaker, writer, facilitator and trainer. Racheal is one of the founding directors for Christian Women Entrepreneurs Network (CWEN), a platform that brings together Christian women in business to connect, create and collaborate. She serves as the Executive Board Secretary for CWEN.

6 Comments

  1. Wow your piece takes me back to one of the heated discusions we had on our class whatsApp group. How much do you pay your domestic help? one posted. The responses were absurd and they went on to justify how they feed and house and shop for these people! One concluded that if you pay house help too much money they leave because they think that money can solve all their problems. Bottom line Uganda needs to revise the minimum wage policy.

    • Thank you Diana. I believe that even if the minimum wage policy is revised, people who employ the house helps must be vigilant to follow through with it and respect their workers.

  2. Thanks Racheal for this piece….great food for thought.Reminded me of some aunt who signs a contract with each house help she gets for two years and in those years, the house help has to atleast attain a certificate award from any desired course alongside her daily tasks at home.

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