Greater women employment will reduce poverty, youth unemployment

CDB economist, Dr Justin Ram

– CDB economist says

IF more Caribbean women become employed, Director of Economics at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr. Justin Ram, believes that poverty and youth unemployment in the Caribbean will be reduced.

Dr. Ram, who was speaking at a recent private sector forum, provided unemployment statistics within the region, which he used to highlight that within the Caribbean, there are still more unemployed women than men.

Seeing this as a matter of concern, the economist highlighted: “If you really want to make economic progress and transformation, it is time that you start to think differently. Women must play a greater part in employment.”

Dr. Ram explained that a great majority of the households across the Caribbean are multifocal, which means that the mother is the head of the household.

Caribbean sociologists have widely accepted that the prevalence of multifocal families spurs from historical experiences on the plantation.

The CDB director shared that when he analyses poverty rates across the Caribbean, most of the households that are affected by poverty are the female-headed households.

“If you want to make a dent on youth unemployment [and] a dent on poverty, you need to have more women working,” the economist said.

Economically empowering these female-headed households, he said would only augur well for the development of the entire household.

Importantly too, he stressed that women should be earning the same level of wages as men, in addition to accessing greater employment opportunities.

Gender equality is the fifth of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations (UN). Those SDGs were adopted on September 25, 2015, by the 193 countries of the UN General Assembly under the 2030 Development Agenda, titled “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

In President David Granger’s publication ‘Women in Guyana,’ he articulated a five-point national policy initiative: equality of women, eradication of poverty, equal employment opportunities, elimination of domestic violence, and equal access to education.

Elaborating on the rationale for the five-point plan, President Granger said: “Women are more likely than men to be the heads of destitute households. Therefore, the government will consider and implement measures to lift families out of poverty. Encouragement of entrepreneurship by women, access to micro-credit, and concessionary business financing are among the measures being undertaken.”