Religious and traditional leaders at Karaga District in the Northern Region have resolved to take steps to contribute to reducing gender job stereotyping in the area to ensure that both males and females earn decent incomes.
The religious leaders resolved to sensitise citizens on gender job stereotyping through their sermons as well as engage young people at ‘Makrantas’ and Sunday Schools to ensure that they did not grow up with the negative mentality that jobs were gender-specific.
The traditional leaders also planned to hold durbars on the issue as well as pass bye-laws to protect males and females in jobs dominated by the opposite sex from stigma and discriminations.
This was the outcome of a day’s forum held at Karaga to engage key religious and traditional leaders amongst other interest groups in the area to trigger discussions on gender job stereotyping to enable them appreciate its effects and come out with plans to help curb the practice.
It was organised by NORSAAC as part of its objective for increased support from community members and expanded opportunities from other institutions in the communities or beyond for gender equity, education for youth, health and well-being, livelihoods for young people with funding from EMpower, an organisation based in the United Kingdom.
Gender job stereotyping is the mapping of jobs onto gender where society puts labels on those jobs and such labels create unsubstantiated expectation about those jobs with further entrenchment of stereotypes about male and female competencies.
This creates barriers to entry for some jobs and obstacles to advancement of individuals trying to cross gendered perceived jobs, a situation, which contributes to unemployment as well.
Jobs considered exclusive for men include carpentry, masonry, mechanics, commercial driving, butchery, and barbering whilst hairdressing, shea nut processing, sale of petty items including ingredients, and sale of cooked food are also considered to be preserve for women.
The forum, therefore, brought out some of the gender norms, religious and traditional barriers that caused gender job stereotyping, and at the end, participants agreed that there was no male nor female jobs and that with determination, interest and hard work, both males and females could undertake any type of job.
Mr Sulemana Fuseini, Gender Desk Officer, Karaga District Assembly, said “what men can do, women can equally do it” saying he would advocate for an end to gender job stereotyping at the Assembly level to ensure opportunities for all.
Catechist Peter Baba, who is in-charge of the Catholic Church at Karaga, said gender job stereotyping was such that males and females did not want to venture into jobs considered to be preserve for the opposite sex, which did not help in the development of the area.
He was hopeful that sensitizing members of the church in the area would help disabuse their minds that certain jobs were preserve for the opposite sex thereby helping all to engage in any available form of economic activity to earn income.
Chief of Monkula Community said times have changed, hence the need for all to change to pave way for the development saying women even farmed nowadays more than men and the gender job stereotyping should not be entertained.
Mr Mohammed Ukasha, Livelihood and Entrepreneurship Development Manager at NORSAAC, expressed the need for sensitisation of communities on the importance of every single job and the need for people to carry out jobs that they deemed lucrative and of their interest.
Mr Ukasha said NORSAAC intends to assist and encourage people, who intend to partake in opposite sex jobs with capacity or skills training on basic job requirements.
He called on government and other civil society organisations to also assist and encourage people, who performed opposite sex jobs, in ways that would be beneficial to them.