Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Providing a level playing field key

IN the Caribbean whenever we speak about women being disadvantaged, there will always be someone who immediately says “What about men?”

Representative of the UN Women Multi-Country Office – Caribbean, Christine Arab, made this observation during the recent culmination of the “Breakfast Club”, which was held by the Barbados Council for the Disabled in collaboration with the Business & Professional Women’s Club of Barbados.

“This is not about putting women ahead of men, this is the simple statistical fact that in your country, girls outperform boys in school, but they underperform boys in economic earnings, labour and active labour activity; they are more likely to be poor; they are more likely to head up larger households that are poor. And women with disabilities have two times the likelihood of unemployment than men with disabilities. Even when people are facing disabilities, women with disabilities often face two-fold,” she revealed.

Ms. Arab went on to share that leadership is only one of the areas UN Women concentrates on, through working with political parties to get more women elected.

She indicated that the Caribbean has one of the lowest rates of women political participation in the world; lower than the Arab region for most countries.

“There are countries in the Caribbean that have only ever elected one female, but it doesn’t make sense does it, because if you go into any ministry or government office there are largely women working there,” she pointed out.

“We work with men and women politicians about trying to make sure that the policies they put forward are gender responsive and more inclusive.”

“But when we talk about leadership, it is about women at the local level, it is about women getting involved in community services, it is about helping women get the child care they need so they can get out and involved. We would like to do much more with women who are facing challenges if because they are disabled,” she said. (TL)

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