Executive Summary for April 6th

In this week’s executive summary for Women’s Advancement Deeply: Ethiopia lifts a ban on domestic workers traveling to Kuwait as a couple are sentenced to death for killing their maid. And the U.K. takes stock of its gender pay gap.

Published on April 6, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Kuwait Opens Door for Ethiopian Domestic Workers

Ethiopia has lifted a ban on its citizens travelling to Kuwait as domestic workers.

The African country enacted the ban five years ago after allegations of abuse of workers in Kuwaiti households. An Ethiopian delegation met officials in Kuwait this week to negotiate the new arrangement between the two countries.

It comes amid a shortage of domestic staff in Kuwait since the Philippines stopped its citizens working there. “We aim to open the door to the recruitment of Ethiopian workers to fill the deficit of domestic servants and reduce prices,” Gen. Talal al-Maarifi, head of Kuwait’s General Department of Residency Affairs, said in an interview with Agence France-Presse.

An estimated 15,000 Ethiopians are currently working in Kuwait, despite the ban. Last year, an Ethiopian woman was filmed falling from a seventh-floor apartment in an apparent suicide attempt. Her employer was arrested for failing to prevent the bid.

Separately, Kuwait’s commerce industry set the price of hiring an overseas domestic worker at KD 990 ($3,267), the Kuwait News Agency reported.

Couple Sentenced to Death for Killing of Domestic Worker

Kuwait’s overtures to Ethiopia come after a Syrian woman and Lebanese man were sentenced to death in absentia for the killing of domestic worker Joanna Daniela Demafelis, whose body was found stuffed into their freezer in February this year.

The Kuwait court sentenced Nader Essam Assaf and his wife Mona Hassoun to death by hanging. Assaf is being held in Beirut, while Hassoun is in custody in Damascus.

The discovery of Demafelis’ body – a year after it is believed she was killed – sparked a diplomatic crisis between Kuwait and the Philippines. The Philippines quickly evacuated 10,000 of its overseas workers who had overstayed their visas when the case came to light and enacted a ban on travel to the Gulf country for work.

“I will sell my soul to the devil to look for money so that you can come home and live comfortably here,” President Rodrigo Duterte told Filipino citizens after Demafelis’ body was found.

U.K. Assesses Full Extent of Gender Pay Gap

The size of the United Kingdom’s gender pay gap has been revealed as companies released data on what men and women earn.

The U.K.’s median pay gap is 18.4 per cent, but the figures reveal a wide variation between companies, 78 per cent of which pay men more than women. The largest gaps were in construction, finance and education.

The window for companies to report their gender pay gaps expired on Wednesday. It is the first time organizations with more than 250 employees have had to publish individual gender pay gap data under mandatory reporting laws. The BBC reported that 1,557 companies missed the deadline and could face unlimited fines.

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