Many women in Africa are congregated in poorly paid and precarious work (ILO, 2016) and have very high rates of school dropout and maternal mortality and child morbidity. This is crucially linked to their role in childbirth and child-care. Women and girls still perform the bulk of unpaid domestic and care work, severely limiting their access to work with fair working conditions. Across a diverse continent, empowering women and achieving decent work is a vital element in developing dynamic economies that include the full political and social citizenship of women, while supporting their care-giving roles.
This lecture focuses on young women (aged 15-24), who are at the cusp of reproduction and production. Drawing on the rich data sets collected by Young Lives in Ethiopia, Professor Jo Boyden, Director of Young Lives, & Professor Sandra Fredman, Director of the Oxford Human Rights Hub, examine transitions of adolescent girls and boys from education to labour markets and how their opportunities are shaped by other intersecting transitions (family formation, marriage and parenthood). On the basis of this evidence, they will consider the role of legal frameworks in obstructing or facilitating women’s access to decent working conditions, the social support for care-giving roles, and ways of interrupting intergenerational transmission of poverty.
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About the speakers
Jo Boyden has been Director of Young Lives since 2005. She has a PhD in Anthropology and a BSc in Social Anthropology from the University of London. Her research has mainly focused on child labour, children and political violence, and childhood poverty – particularly in bringing together academics, practitioners and policymakers to develop effective models and methods for supporting children, their families and their communities in situations of adversity. Before joining Young Lives, Jo was Senior Research Officer at the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford. She has also worked for over 20 years as consultant on children’s issues to many governments and international and national organisations.
Sandra Fredman is Rhodes Professor of the Laws of the British Commonwealth and the USA at Oxford University. She was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2005 and became a QC (honoris causa) in 2012. She is Honorary Professor of Law at the University of Cape Town and a fellow of Pembroke College Oxford. She has written and published widely on anti-discrimination law, human rights law and labour law, including numerous peer-reviewed articles, and three monographs: Human Rights Transformed (OUP 2008); Discrimination Law (2nd ed, OUP 2011); and Women and the Law (OUP 1997),as well as two co-authored books: The State as Employer (Mansell, 1988), with Gillian Morris, and Labour Law and Industrial Relations in Great Britain (2nd ed Kluwer, 1992) with Bob Hepple. She has also edited several books: Discrimination and Human Rights: The Case of Racism (OUP,2001); and Age as an Equality Issue (Hart, 2003) with Sarah Spencer; and has written numerous articles in peer-reviewed law journals.
She was awarded a three year Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship in 2004 to further her research into socio-economic rights and substantive equality. She is South African and holds degrees from the University of Witwatersrand and the University of Oxford. She has acted as an expert adviser on equality law and labour legislation in the EU, Northern Ireland, the UK, India, South Africa, Canada and the UN; and is a barrister practising at Old Square Chambers. She founded the Oxford Human Rights Hub in 2012, of which she is the Director.