VENTURES AFRICA – A unique survey into the social impacts of female employment by Agricultural supply chain and food ingredients multinational Olam has revealed female jobs gives “choice and independence.”
The study which was in support of International Women’s Day, was carried out February in its cashew processing plants in emerging markets.
5971 women from rural communities in Côte d’Ivoire, India, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania and Vietnam were asked to choose the single most important reason they value their job, beyond the obvious financial benefits.
36 percent said that the job gives them independence and choices. 33 percent identified their employment’s impact as ‘status and confidence,’ while 19 percent said: “I learn useful information to take back to my family.” Only 11 percent of respondents answered “none of these.”
Commenting on the findings, Briony Mathieson, Head of Corporate & Sustainability Communications Olam said: “These findings – although only an anecdotal snapshot – strongly suggest that these jobs provide much more than just a wage packet.
“The findings of our survey clearly reinforce that the value of working together in a sociable and supportive environment cannot be under-estimated.”
According to the UN’s FAO report, on average 43 percent of the agricultural labour force of developing countries are women. New jobs in high-value, export-oriented agro-industries offer much better opportunities for women than traditional agricultural work.
Olam said in an official statement that: “A very large body of research from many countries around the world confirms that putting more income in the hands of women yields beneficial results for child nutrition, health and education. Other measures – such as improving education – that increase women’s influence within the household are also associated with better outcomes for children.”
Briony added: “It is clear that employment helps to build confidence and status among women, giving them choices and improving prospects for their children. If the theme of International Women’s Day is gathering momentum though gender equality, our research suggests more focus on rural employment would be a big move in the right direction.”
Olam International is a leading global integrated supply chain manager and processor of agricultural products and food ingredients, supplying various products across 16 platforms to over 12,300 customers worldwide. Headquartered in Singapore and listed on the SGX-ST on February 11, 2005.
Olam currently ranks among the top 40 largest listed companies in Singapore in terms of market capitalisation and is a components stock.