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Environment Ministry Maps Out Decent Work For Women 

By Franca Ma-ih Sulem Yon*

Officials of the Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection, MINEP, have said the acquisition of environmental knowledge by women is pivotal in enhancing decency in all works of life.
That overriding message was highlighted during a roundtable conference at the Ministry in Yaounde, March 4, brought together environmentalists and feminists to discuss on the theme:

"Equal Access to Environmental Education, Training, Science and technology: Pathway to Descent Work for Women." The issue at stake was the evaluation of the rate of female access to environmental studies, define decent working conditions, diagnose the problems that stall female involvement in the field and spell out recommendations to this effect.

The Secretary General at the Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection, Patrick Akwa Kum, who represented Minister Pierre Hele, said: "We are conscious of the position of the women and we are glad that they are making efforts to upgrade themselves."

Decent work, stakeholders explained, is one which ensures the political, economic and social betterment of the worker. Specifically: a job in which the country’s law is respected; one which guarantees security and a proportionate salary to work done; matches with the physical and mental abilities of the worker; warrants professional progress and equal treatment of people.

"Education on environment can ensure appropriate working conditions because if a woman is trained, she will keep herself, her family and surroundings healthy. She will be wise enough to choose the right job with descent working conditions or even reverse the trend if conditions that are not good. She must be armed with knowledge to do that," said Alphonsine Boumsong of the Gender Focal Point organisation.

Stakeholders expressed regret that despite the significant role women play, when they know about their environment, the women’s lack of interest in the field was alarming. This ailment, they said, stems from discrimination, especially in terms of education and more affiliation of women to literary subjects.

They, thus, recommended that women be sensitised on the advantages of mastering and improving their environment. They equally proposed the application of an appropriate educative system, the organisation of more educative talks on environmental issues and sensible budgetary allocation for the purpose. Women were also called upon to believe in themselves and venture more into scientific fields.

(UY1 Student On Internship)

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