The 2016 United Nations Human Development Report on the Caribbean has found that although women in the region are better educated, they find themselves facing more challenges than men in the work place.
According to the report which was released recently, women are disadvantaged in the labour market, with lower level and lower paying jobs than men in the Caribbean.
It said although women head nearly half of the Caribbean households, the participation of women in senior managerial jobs is still limited to less than one quarter of these jobs in all researched Caribbean countries, with the exceptions of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados.
In the Caribbean, women are more affected by unemployment than men, although the gap is reducing over time, the report shows. Between 2000 and 2013, the labour force participation rate of women aged 15-64 increased by 2.2 percent whilst that of men decreased by 2.5 percent. However, gender differences are large with 59.3 percent of women in labour force versus 78.7 percent for men according to the report.
The report found that women are studying more, causing the educational gap between women and men in the Caribbean to widen in the last years in favour of women. According to the report, education can be a potential protective factor against women´s disadvantages in the labour market, but women are still earning less than male colleagues and are proportionally holding fewer decision-making positions in the public and private sectors.
“An example of women’s underrepresentation in politics is that the percentage of women MPs ranged from 6.7 percent in St. Kitts and Nevis to 25.7 percent in Antigua and Barbuda in 2014”, the report noted.
The Human Development Report has also stressed that violence against women is a key challenge for the Caribbean, not only threatening lives but also negatively impacting all of society.
Different types of violence – physical, sexual, psychological or a combination of them – affect between 20 and 35 percent of women in Caribbean countries for which data are available.