The Motor Industry Staff Association (MISA) has called on the South African retail motor industry to accelerate gender equality in the retail motor sector in observance of International Women’s Day on Friday, 8 March 2019.
While some progress has been made in empowering women in this important economic sector, the South African retail motor industry is still very much a man’s world, according to Martlé Keyter, MISA’s CEO for Operations and National Co-ordinator of the MISA Women’s Forum.
While International Women’s Day is an opportunity to highlight the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, Martlé believes the push for gender parity is far from over, especially in the workplace.
“Women are still paid less for the same work as their male counterparts, female managers and directors remain in the minority, and motherhood still poses a career risk for many women,” notes Martlé.
Real and effective plans needed
MISA has urged employers to put real and effective plans and measures in place to end gender-based stereotyping and to ensure women are protected against harassment and violence in the workplace.
“There will be no greater accomplishment and reward other than to see the motor industry as a vibrant sector where it is the norm that the work of women is valued as much as men’s, where women are not isolated into low-paying jobs or discriminated against, where they do not risk their health or safety or that of their unborn children, and where they have equal access to good quality jobs and decent working conditions,” says Martlé.
MISA is an active campaigner for gender parity
MISA is an active campaigner for gender parity and through its Women’s Forum has become a leader in this area in the South African motor industry. “It’s a simple concept: when we act with other women, we are more powerful than acting alone,” she says.
“As a credible, strong and fast-growing trade union, MISA can address women’s priority concerns with employers and collectively negotiate with employers for improved health and safety conditions at work, increased participation, power equality and maternity protection, to name but a few basic rights,” states Martlé.
“We are also actively working towards putting an end to workplace differences in legal status, gender division, and violence against women and discriminatory attitudes against women.”
To this end, MISA spearheads various workplace initiatives to promote greater gender equality within the retail motor sector and to empower women in the motor industry, including training and development support for women and its flagship programme, the annual MISA Woman of the Year Award.
“At MISA we believe in giving women an opportunity to invest in skills, knowledge and lifelong learning. We are the vanguard of basic workers’ rights and carry the obligatory responsibility to adequately protect and promote the interests of women in the workplace. As a trade union, MISA is a leader in the quest for a more just and decent society in which our members can control their own destiny,” concludes Martlé.
THE GLOBAL PICTURE
According to UN Women research, 740 million women worldwide currently make their living in the informal economy with limited access to social protection, public services and infrastructure that could increase their productivity and income security.
Women do 2.6 times more unpaid care and domestic work than men, with only 41 percent of the world’s mothers with new-born children receiving maternity benefits. Furthermore, it is estimated that one in three women could face violence in their lifetimes.
ABOUT MISA, THE INTELLIGENT ALTERNATIVE
The Motor Industry Staff Association (MISA) is the only registered trade union that organises exclusively in the South African retail motor sector and is an active participant on various fronts in this important segment of the South African economy.
The union plays an active role in industry issues, such as training and development, job creation and economic development.
MISA has a dedicated Women’s Forum aimed at supporting and uplifting women in the retail motor sector, as well as a Young Workers’ Forum that provides support to young workers in the sector.