Every August, South Africa is given the opportunity to celebrate the remarkable women who fought so hard to ensure that we enjoy the freedoms we do, as well as those who continue to fight for a better life for all South Africans. It’s also a chance, however, to reflect on the challenges that South African women continue to face.
Those challenges were underlined with the recent release of the country’s latest unemployment stats. According to Statistics South Africa’s quarterly labour force survey, unemployment rose from 26.7% of the labour force to 27.2%. That rise in unemployment can hit women particularly hard, whether they’ve been rendered jobless themselves or have had to support more family members because of job losses.
“When I read those stats, it reminded me of how much our own mission at SweepSouth has changed since we launched in 2014.”
When my husband and I started the company, it was because we were looking to answer a personal need. We were young professionals working 16- to 18-hour days and were frustrated with the idea of how difficult it was to find someone to help manage our household.
Very early in the journey, however, we realised that SweepSouth needed to be about more than just helping people find someone to assist with home-cleaning. As we met more and more of the women on the platform, we started to understand not only the importance of creating job opportunities through the platform, but of doing so in a way that respects the dignity of workers in the domestic space and allows them to dictate their own schedules. With 70% of domestic workers being single mothers and more than 83% being the sole breadwinners at home, we’ve come to understand how vital this mission is.
While we’ve faced challenges along the way, we’ve made massive strides over the years. We’ve provided tens of thousands of work opportunities to thousands of women in the four cities we operate in.
Perhaps more importantly, we’re also able to provide our SweepStars with forms of security they would not otherwise have had, or that would form part of their living costs. A great example of this is our partnership with Simply, which gives our SweepStars access to life insurance and funeral cover ‒ two things which are especially important to a family who is reliant on the income of a single member.
Additionally, we’re continually striving to provide our SweepStars with opportunities to upskill themselves, improving their chances of finding job opportunities.
The women of South Africa deserve better opportunities than their mothers and grandmothers had. We’re incredibly proud to play a part, however small, in ensuring that they do.
SweepSouth’s mission is to create happy homes by providing dignified, flexible work at decent pay to our SweepStars; and a hassle-free and reliable service that gives time back to our clients. Our SweepStars can dictate where and when they would like to work, earn up to 80% of the booking fee (plus tips), and learn to use technology to unlock the power of a device like a smartphone, so that it becomes a tool that can bring income to their families.
This impact on wider communities is something we are especially proud of, with 83% of our SweepStars being primary breadwinners at home. Of the thousands of SweepStars we’ve already given work opportunities to via our platform, 71% were previously unemployed while 29% were underemployed, evidence of the real impact we’re having on creating employment.
For more information, check SweepSouth out at www.sweepsouth.com