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Executive Summary for June 15th

In the week’s round-up of gender equality news: domestic workers demand better conditions in Hong Kong, $75 million for Turkish entrepreneurs, and the benefits of bringing electricity into the home.

Published on June 15, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Hong Kong Domestic Workers Demand Better Conditions

Domestic workers in Hong Kong are calling for employers to provide them with 11 hours of rest each day and better living conditions.

Migrant workers’ unions are demanding that standard employment contracts specify what “suitable accommodation” means, as domestic workers can be forced to sleep in toilets, corridors or even on roofs.

The Asian Migrants’ Coordinating Body, which represents migrant workers’ unions in Hong Kong, is collecting signatures on a petition to be presented to the government outlining their demands. There are 370,000 migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong, mostly from the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

IFC Provides $75 Million in Bonds for Turkish Women Entrepreneurs

The International Finance Corporation has announced a new $75 million scheme to invest in Turkish women who want to run their own businesses. The IFC says it is the first fund of its kind – a private-sector gender bond – to be dedicated specifically to female entrepreneurs in an emerging market.

There are 250,000 women entrepreneurs in Turkey, constituting just 9 percent of small and medium-sized enterprises. Only 15 percent of women business owners have access to finance.

The project is a collaboration between the IFC’s Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative. The funds will be issued through Turkey’s Garanti Bank.

Electrification Can Raise Women’s Wages

Bringing electricity into homes makes a difference to women’s wages in South Africa, but not in India, a new study has found.

In houses that lack electricity, the burden of unpaid care for women can increase dramatically, with the task of walking long distances to get firewood often left to women and girls.

Authors Sambhu Singh Rathi and Claire Vermaak surveyed rural households in South Africa and India – two countries that have invested in electrification on a large scale in recent years. In India, bringing electricity into homes increased wages and productivity of both men and women; in South Africa, it was women in particular who benefited from higher wages, though neither men nor women saw increased access to paid work after electrification. The authors suggest that this means electrification does not automatically bring gender gains, but can do so depending on policy and economic environment.

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