CARICOM developing regional gender equality strategy

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — The 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is developing a Regional Gender Equality Strategy to accelerate the effective implementation of key priority actions that member countries have signed on to, following the Beijing Platform for Action conference,” the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat announced Friday.

In a message marking International Women’s Day, the Secretariat said that the strategy would assist those countries which are yet to fully implement the Beijing declaration that includes women’s economic empowerment and freedom from violence.

The CARICOM Secretariat said that International Women’s day provides an 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”.

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

The secretariat noted that next year will be a banner year to mark several important milestones including the 25thanniversary of the Adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action; five years of implementing the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (GDGs) and 20 years of the United Nations 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 peace building efforts.

It said in the context of the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, the CARICOM member states, 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.

The secretariat said that 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.”

The secretariat noted that a recent analysis undertaken by UN Women using 2017 Labour Force data provided an insight into progress made with regard to achieving gender equality in the world of work.

It said the findings of this policy and statistical analysis in six countries, 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 per cent in Grenada to 67 per cent in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, while for women, the range is from 35 per cent in Guyana to 55 per cent in Barbados.

The analysis showed that in all six 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 old 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.”

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