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South African Women’s Career Relies on Their Husbands, Says Donna Rachelson

TechInAfrica – Married women’s success relies on their husbands, how supportive they are to their wives careers. Unfortunately, it is rare to happen in South Africa as gender discrimination at work is relatively high. While women in other countries are making progress at work, African women are still struggling to have important roles in their career.

According to statistics, women spend much more time to do housework, like cleaning the house, cooking, and shopping than men do. As a conservative country, South Africa still promotes masculinity within their communities, letting their full-time employed wives do the housework alone.

A study conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2016 found that averagely, South African women spend at least 4.3 hours a day doing workhouse while men spend 1.5 hours. In other words, women have to struggle alone both at home and at a workplace. The same findings also found by the Statistics South Africa conducted in nine provinces in 2000 and 2010.

Donna RachelsonDonna Rachelson
Donna Rachelson via

A CEO of Branding & Marketing YOU, Donna Rachelson commented on the findings and compared it to her own personal experience. She said, “One of the most important career decisions I made, was the choice of my husband who agreed to a 50/50 partnership at home and in the care of our children. Early in our marriage, we recognized that for both of us to have successful careers, we would both need to make sacrifices.”

“Being a very hands-on father and comfortable with the many tasks that accompany bringing up children, we have together navigated a supportive and workable relationship. We also agreed what costs each of us would cover – it is a 50/50 split. While there is no formal agreement about this relationship, there is a deep respect for what is required to run a household and raise children, so an equal allocation of roles has been pivotal to a successful 18-year marriage,” she added.

According to Rachelson, companies should treat women and men differently in order to implement gender equality at work. As women’s work decision tend to depend more on their family situation, corporates need to be crystal clear about gender roles. Moreover, maternity and paternity leave should be taken as work so that men and women can both take care of their children. By doing that, companies have helped to create a supportive working environment for mothers and fathers and reduced the level of stress both at work and at home.

“Businesses should consider whether company culture creates an unspoken bias against women. Culture can punish those who choose not to participate in out-of-office networking events over going home to their families instead of socializing with people of influence at work. Even with the best intentions, corporates may inadvertently be thwarting women’s careers by ignoring their realities,” Rachelson said.

“Uplifting women in the workforce and in their own businesses could have far-reaching impact. In South Africa, women are generally supporting entire families and research has shown that they are more likely to make a social contribution than men. It is a monumental tragedy to keep women on the outskirts of the economy,” she concluded.

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