In a recent research presentation I attended at Uganda Christian University, the researchers, Faith Musinguzi and her colleagues, presented findings on ‘women integration of family tasks and career.’
This research was done among the working women in banking and academic institutions including Centenary, Barclays and Stanbic banks, and also Uganda Christian University, among others, with a sample of men, especially in higher positions.
In their research, the problem at hand was balancing job and family responsibilities. How these responsibilities are balanced by men to directly affect the women’s quality of life and work and the life of their family members. It seems that an increasing percentage of men are neglecting their traditional roles of providing for the family and so the women have no option but to fill the gap.
From the findings, the researchers mentioned that more than 60 per cent of women commit eight hours to work relative to the four hours committed to the families. Over 95 per cent of the family tasks and responsibilities are done by women; men concentrate on formal work.
Looking at both working parents and with the heavy workload at the workplace, there is a tendency of parents working overtime, carrying their work home, some working on weekends, as others work at distant stations.
Notwithstanding that other parents after work have other social engagements and networks in town, bars or at church, and returning home late. This results in less time with the family and reduced time to take care of the children and spouse.
Due to a lot of work, you find that there is work-related stress, fatigue and child neglect, among others. We all love our families and would love to be available, yet we can’t survive without earning a living. Musinguzi says there are benefits of working which include, among others, financial gain, enhanced social capital through exposure, self-esteem, family stability as well as health benefits.
However, from the research findings, 74 per cent of women fail to bond with family and 52 per cent have low career progression, among others. As a way of looking for a solution, 92 per cent of women balance work and family tasks by employing maids, whom they constantly connect with through phone calls.
We know that few institutions provide facilities like day-care and breastfeeding centres aimed at inclusion of working women and mothers. Other workplaces/employers deny women full maternity leave of three months as stipulated in Uganda’s Employment Act.
As a result, 81 per cent of career women have postponed marriage and child bearing. In light of this, is there any way fathers can come on board to fully support their working spouses so that they can be able to balance family and work?
As partners in taking care of our families, how best can we share responsibility of raising children in a way that can prevent child neglect in families where it is happening?
I pray that the papas could be accorded more days of paternity leave in the Employment Act, from the current four working days, to at least a month to take care of their spouses and babies after childbirth.
The four days given to men even get used up while you are still in the hospital nursing your spouse, if she underwent a C-section. As spouses, what if we sat down together and planned on how to juggle our roles?
This would also help when one of you would like to go for further studies. In all, what we are looking at is raising children without having them feel neglected.