Let me start by saying “Happy Happy Women’s Day.”
We have had a long journey but we have come to a time when women are seen as equal with men – in the social, political and business environment.
The number of women earning more than their husbands has gradually been rising for years, but the pace appeared to quicken during the Great Recession of 2007-09. Nearly 38 percent of wives earned more than their husbands in 2009, according to the latest data from US. Bureau of Labor Statistics, up about 3 percentage points from 2008.
I recently came across an article titled “Tanzania: Empowered Women Support Husbands Financially With Loans” The article described how Women Empowerment program In Zanzibar (WEZA) benefited the families and improved the quality of their lives from the savings they made and loans accessed. “I lost hope with life when my shop collapsed and I fell sick only to find out that I was HIV positive. The stigmatization from the community was so bad I had no will to live” says Salim Abdalla whose wife helped him revive his shop after taking a loan of 400,000/- from WEZA.
Mary Gatta, a senior scholar with the advocacy and research organization Wider Opportunities for Women, said it’s hard to say exactly what is behind the trend of wives earning more than husbands, she thinks it’s because of the recession.
“The recession is a significant factor here in that during the recession we saw higher numbers of men lose their jobs,” Gatta said.
The official period of economic contraction, from December 2007 to June 2009, was so hard on men that some people dubbed it the “mancession” because so many men lost their jobs. However, in the years of weak economic recovery that followed, women were harder hit while men started to gain jobs again.
The trend appears to have started to even out in recent months. Still, Gatta noted, that there are other, longer-term factors at work. For example, women have been graduating from college at higher rates than men for years. Workers with a college degree generally have higher earning potential than those without one.
“It’s more than just the recession,” Gatta said. Even in the families where wives make more than their husbands, she notes, many are struggling to get by – whether they have one or two salaries. In some cases women may be earning more their husbands because he lost a job or endured a pay cut.
In Tanzania, We have an image of (the wives) being the CEO of big financial Institutions, political Leaders; and even successful businesswomen. Taking an example of Dr. Marina Njelekela, recently appointed Executive director of Muhimbili National hospital, Hon. Anna Makinda, the Speaker of Parliament in Tanzania to mention but a few. I expect that women’s earnings will continue to be a key to many families’s financial survival.
I think the recession did not shift the course; it accelerated the course we were already on.
We are empowered and no more just watchers but doers. ” Women are are the real architects of society.”- Harriet Beecher Stowe
Be proud to be a woman!