Decisions for Life - a success story

All about the Decisions for Life campaign, Young Women and Work, Young Women and Work and Salaries, Making Decisions and more on Mywage South Africa

The Decisions for Life project, primarily aimed at empowering young women in the services sector, has involved over 1000 women in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Limpopo and North West, who have taken part in workshops, debates and discussions on topics that directly relate to their lives.

Young Women Participate

The uni-global project was initiated by the Wage Indicator Foundation and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). The aim of the project is to raise awareness amongst young female workers about their employment opportunities, career possibilities, their workplace rights and the work-family balance.

The DFL campaign has been particularly active in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Limpopo. North West, and will soon launch in Durban. Since its inception in 2009, more than 1000 young women have been involved, discussing topics ranging from career choices to joining a union to using a femidom (the female contraceptive) – all issues which are important to the physical, economical and social health of young women.

Making Decisions

Thulile Motsamai, a hotel housekeeper and member of SACCAWU, is a young women who is one of the key players in the DFL project. She says that: “Women need to take care of themselves before and after they enter the labour market, so that when they do they are strong women who know their rights and know what can and cannot happen.”

She adds: “Our message is really to say to women: "Make your own decisions", be it about moving house, starting a family, having sexual relations, getting married or not, etc. When we are capable of deciding for ourselves, we are capable of doing it in all other areas, such as choosing a job.”

Who else is involved?

Apart from South Africa, Decisions for Life focuses on 13 developing countries, notably Brazil, India, Indonesia, the CIS countries Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and the southern African countries Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe. 

Some facts and figures

  • DFL has reached out to more than 90 000 women internationally, of whom 30% have joined a union.
  • DFL has achieved gender clauses in collective agreements – for example, South Africa has achieved five new collective agreements with clauses on sexual harassment and gender rights.
  • More women are becoming activists and leaders – for example, in South Africa women held 40% of decision-making positions in SACCAWU by June 2010.

Read more

Find out more about Women and Work in South Africa. And check out the international Decisions for Life website.