#702Townhall: 'We are neglecting gender equality in care work'

The Social Welfare sector comes with its difficulties as it entails the crucial job of care work where there appears to be huge gender and wage disparities.

Putting the spotlight on the sector, Joanne Joseph, in collaboration with the Care Work Campaign which comprises of a number of NGOs, hosted this week's third townhall.

She sat down with panellists, Dr Wiseman Magasela - African National Congress adviser on social policy within the ministry of women, shadow MEC for social development in Gauteng Refilwe Ntseke and Nkuleko Hlengwa who is the national spokesperson for the Inkatha Freedom Party.

A collation of people from NGOs joined the conversation.

One of the concerns raised was around unregistered old age homes which has led to the abuse of patrons.

One of things is that there area myriad of unregistered old age homes. Looking at the fact sheet I have in front of me, references made to 413 state subsidised facilities for the whole of the country. In Gauteng, there are 77 that are subsides however there are 249 - some have been registered but outside of them, they have never been registered.

Audience member

There is no proper funding structure. At least R 6 000 is required to care for one person. Using the government's own old age home, round about for years ago, R 10 000 was used for each person.

Audience member

An NGO representative from Kwazulu-Natal insists that social development issues are much broader.

Right at the top, from a policy perspective, down to service delivery. One of the things that is worrying is that we have a white paper that is meant to guide the work around social development services, it never progressed to being an overall act. That filters all the way down in terms of challenges within the sector and operations.

Audience member

Lisa Vetten highlighted the significance of care work from a gender perspective.

These services predominantly reach women because that is who the face of poverty is in South Africa. The majority of those who work in the sector are women. We are neglecting a major area of gender equality. This is a gender equality issue.

Lisa Vetten, Gender activist

She says one of the areas that are really important is the problem of minimum wage.

We would want to know where the financing is going to come from in order to make sure that those who work in the sector get to minimum wage given how feminised it is.

Lisa Vetten, Gender activist

Click on the link to hear some of the responses from the panellists...


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