Sarai Chisala of EmGender Research Network, who challenged a Norwegian development arm over the use of “single” in an advert seeking young women for internship, has successfully won the battle and the advert has been withdrawn from a newspaper pending removal of the marital status.
In the letter , Thor Offedal, country director for Development Fund of Norway says marital status does not and shall not have any impact on employment opportunities at the Fund.
“We fully agree that being ‘single’ is an unacceptable criteria for being considered in a position, be it as an intern or in a permanent post ,” said Offedal.
“The Development Fund of Norway is committed to promoting gender equality and ensuring that young and older women are given the much needed platform to unleash their potential and exercise their skill without hindrance,” says the country director.
Chisala had written an open letter to the Fund on November 2 explaining that the use of the word ‘single’ was discriminatory and asked the organisation to withdraw it.
The letter was reproduced by lawyer Sunduzwayo Madise who posted on his Facebook wall and it went viral.
The Fund says it respects gender issues saying this is simplified in the type of work they do, for instance all the Fund’s current programmes in Malawi explicitly state that 50% of the organisation’s beneficiaries will be girls and women.
“We regret the use of the term ‘single’ and we will not use the same in our future adverts. We will also re-advertise the internship where the word single will not feature;” says Offedal.
The issue attracted widespread condemnation in the social media and also commendation for the Norwegians have maturely handled the issues.
Human rights activist Billy Mayaya welcomed the decision.
“Instead of being overly defensive, the response is what we expect from progressive minds,” he said.
The issue cannot however be enforced by other employers as the order is not from courts of law.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :