The community level of single mother workers from the

The
action directly corresponds to the following objectives and priority areas of
the call for proposals:

 

1.
Contribution to poverty reduction and to social inclusion of single mothers as
workers in the informal economy at a community level.

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2. The
development of sustainable initiatives (including capacity building of local
communities) to strengthen social protection and employment at community level
of single mother workers from the local communities.

 

3.
Dissemination and exchanges of related good practices at local and national
level.

 

As
Bangladesh is in the group of least developed countries, this project meets the
requirement of targeting priority countries. The informal economy is receiving
large and renewed interest from the development community as it provides
for the majority of the employment opportunities in most developing countries. In
Bangladesh, 87 per cent of the labor force is employed in the informal economy
according to the 2010 Labor Force Survey. Informal workers often experience
poor working conditions such as long working hours, high level
of health hazards or lack of social security usually accompanied with poor
earnings, low productivity, and lack of legal
protection. To a large extent women, and disadvantaged groups such as youth,
persons with HIV/AIDS,
persons with disabilities, indigenous people and migrant workers are
overrepresented in the informal
economy.

 

One of
the most unfortunate groups, showing considerable evidence of higher levels of
poverty, are single parent households, particularly those headed by women. The
disproportionate burden of poverty borne by female-headed households is largely
due to the multiple forms of discrimination that women face in education, health
care, employment, and control of assets.

 

That women’s unpaid work
constrains women’s
choices about whether they can participate in the labour market, for how much
time, and how far from home has long been at the core of discussions about
gender equality. In industrialized countries, these patterns are clearly
visible in the lower labour force participation rates and higher part-time
employment rates of women with young children. In developing countries, there
has been less research or policy dialogue of the relationship between workers’ family
responsibilities and paid work. But it is clear that for many women, the lack
of public and private supports for family responsibilities means that the
informal economy may offer the only paid work that provides enough flexibility,
autonomy, and geographic proximity to home to allow them to combine paid
economic activity with family responsibilities.

 

It should
further be noted that in many developing countries, marriage is still a crucial
means for women to secure access to land, livestock, credit housing and other
resources. Hence, the increasing number of female-headed households means that
many of them will increasingly be unable to secure or access income and
wealth-generating resources, leaving them vulnerable to poverty and social
exclusion. (p.14)

The lack of supports for unpaid
family responsibilities may force many women, particularly poor women,
including single mothers,
to accept the low wages and poor working conditions typical of the informal
economy, but as a survival strategy, such employment does not meet the broader
aspirations of the working poor for economic security and freedom from poverty.

Even
though there are some practices which deal with social inclusion, female labor,
child care, gender equality in Bangladesh, they are not sufficient, and there
are some gaps to fill. First of all, most of the
efforts to address workers’
family responsibilities do not reach informal economy workers. In large part,
this is a consequence of the nature of informal economy employment, which
places its workers beyond the purview of government and outside the domains of
employers or trade unions.

 

Another
problem arises from the fact that mother’s interests may be closely intertwined
with those of their children, but they are not identical. However, because
grants to children are politically more popular than grants to mothers,
children’s interests and well-being are prioritized, sometimes at the expense
of the mother. It is suggested that the problem is addressed from the both
sides – single mothers and children.

 

Additionally,
there is a lack of available information which requires conducting a (primary)
field research. Considering the data presented in UN family-oriented policies
for poverty reduction, work-family balance and integrational solidarity (2010),
for example, Bangladesh has no program or no information available in the field
of unemployment and family allowances.

 

C.   
Description of the actions

 

·        
Research

The following actions are to be taken due to the fact
that policy-making and decision making is constrained by the lack of data.

 

o  
Developing of
appropriate indicators and practical methodologies for the collection of data
on single mothers’ families and households, and for assessing the direct and
indirect effects of policies and programs on family life and well-being.

o  
Conducting
research based on the designed methodology.

 

·        
Childcare

Providing
care for their children is particularly difficult for poor families, for whom
paid childcare is unavailable and/or unaffordable. With no other supports for
childcare, poor families cope by leaving children home alone, by enlisting the
help of an older sibling, or by taking children to work with them. Leaving children alone or in the care of
older siblings has clear implications for the quality of care and the health of
young children, and for the long-term educational and employment opportunities
of the older siblings who withdraw from school to provide care. The importance of the quality of early childhood
education and care services has been underlined in several international
strategy documents including those focusing on work-family reconciliation. Encouraging
childcare is an important means of promoting greater employment opportunities
for women and stands to play a key role in strategies to reduce poverty and
informality. In sum, existing evidence and insights gained from these
initiatives suggest that childcare is a pressing need for workers in the
informal as well as formal economy, with benefits for children and for the
employment, and economic security of working parents, especially mothers.

o  
Establishing
childcare centers and

o  
Organizing
childcare services that employ single mothers, in order to provide more working
opportunities for them

o  
Organizing school hours and early
childhood education programmes in ways that make it easier for women to
participate fully and productively in paid employment are examples

·        
Housing

In Bangladesh, single mothers are often facing
challenges when in situation of inheriting and/or dividing property. The
problems occur since the religious laws impose strict limitations for women. In
these situations, it happens that single mothers either live in very poor
conditions, or don’t even have a place to stay.

o  
Building up
housing facilities for single mothers with their families.

 

·        
Legal assistance

Due to the challenges mentioned above, that single
mothers experience while claiming their rights to property, as well as other infringement
of law, they are in need for legal help.

o  
Free legal
consultancy

 

·        
Education

Female workers have low education backgrounds and a
poor understanding about nutrition, as well as about sexual health.

o  
Courses and
workshops for single mothers where they are taught basics in the areas such as
nutrition, proper health care, sexual health, care of the children

 

·        
Social inclusion

As already stated, women and single mothers in
particular, are a social group that is often struggling with social exclusion. To
tackle this problem, it is important to build up a social community which would
empower single mothers as well as strengthen the relations between its members.

o  
Establishing a
program that would insist on inclusion and collaboration of women in the
community, as well as exchange of skills among each other.

 

·        
Employment

Basing on the research findings, establishment
training centers for skills which are in the demand at the community level.