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Celebrating our women and girls on International Women’s Day 2019

Posted in: Regional News by volderine | 08 March 2019 | 2349


    Friday 8, MARCH 2019

    The CARICOM Secretariat is pleased to celebrate our women and girls across the Caribbean Community on the occasion of the 108th Anniversary of International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day affords us the opportunity to reflect on gender equality and the advancement of women and to work towards #BalanceForBetter as this year’s theme and call to action for accelerating gender equality suggests.

    Gender balance is essential for economies to thrive. It is a balance that creates stronger families and communities, better working environments, and stronger nations.

    Next year, 2020 will be a banner year to mark several important milestones: namely the 25th Anniversary of the Adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action; five years of implementing the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals and 20 years of Security Council Resolution 1325 which addresses the differential impacts of conflict and war on women and girls, and recognises the critical role that women play in peacebuilding efforts.

    In the context of the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, the Member States of CARICOM, in collaboration with UN Women, are in the process of preparing consultative national reviews of the progress and challenges for women and girls in the last 25 years in their respective countries. These will feed into the 2020 session of the Commission on the Status of Women, followed by a High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly in September 2020.

    This month the 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations will focus on the topic of: Social Protection Systems, Access to Public Services, and Sustainable Infrastructure for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of all Women and Girls. Progress in these areas is crucial for achieving Goal 5 of SDGs -Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

    A recent analysis undertaken by UN Women using 2017 Labour Force data provides insight into progress made with regard to achieving gender equality in the world of work. The findings of this policy and statistical analysis in six Member States namely, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago, reveal that the proportion of the male working-age population who are employed ranges from 57% in Grenada to 67% in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, while for women, the range is from 35% in Guyana to 55% in Barbados. In all countries, the employment rate is lower for women than for men.

    Men were also noticeably more likely than women to be employed, especially if there were children under five years in the household. Further, gender-based stereotyping has resulted in occupational segregation with women more likely than men to work in the care economy (paid and unpaid) and service-oriented and clerical positions.On the issue of social protection, millions of women in the region who work in the informal sector are often trapped in jobs which offer low or no social protection, such as maternity leave, health insurance and pension. They face discrimination in accessing public services which is even more pronounced with women who face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. These include women with disabilities, indigenous women, older, young and transgender women among others.

    Data on the gender wage gap suggest that while these gaps are narrowing, men continue to earn more than women. The Report highlights that, 50.3% of women in the tourism sector are working in low wage and low status jobs despite the majority being graduates or having completed tertiary level education (66.2%).

    The Community is developing a Regional Gender Equality Strategy to accelerate the effective implementation of key priority actions that Member States have signed on to, following the Beijing Conference which are yet to be fully realized. Key among them are women’s economic empowerment and freedom from violence.

    The SDGs call for inclusive and sustainable economic growth with full and productive employment and decent work for all (SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth). Let us as a community recommit to ensuring that men and women realise their right to decent work and let us strive towards gender balance because balance is not a women’s issue, it is an economic issue. There must be collective action and shared responsibility for driving a gender-balanced world.

    On March 8, we invite concerned citizens of the Caribbean Community to move from grassroots activism to worldwide action, to celebrate women and girls in creating a #BalanceforBetter. Better Balance for a Better World!