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The United Nations and Government of Japan through the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS) today launched a regional USD6.2M programme. Set to benefit over 162,000 people in the Caribbean, the focus is on reaching the most vulnerable - particularly women and marginalized youth who continue to be disproportionately affected by economic, social and environmental challenges.
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Ryancia Henry is originally from Antigua and Barbuda, she moved four months ago to Montecito, California, to take up the position of Director of Housekeeping, managing a team of 60 people, at a hotel that has now closed because of the COVID-19 outbreak. With international travel disrupted, and movement restrictions within the United States of America, Ryancia is among millions of workers in the hospitality industry considering what the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will be on her, her staff, her family and her friends.
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Nearly a year ago, catastrophic hurricanes devastated the Caribbean. After Hurricane Irma, almost the entire population of Barbuda, a small island in the eastern Caribbean, was driven to its twin island of Antigua. In Dominica, Hurricane Maria wiped out crops, equipment and infrastructure. In efforts to ensure that women both benefit from, and lend their expertise to the humanitarian response in the Caribbean, UN Women has been working with partners in the immediate aftermath of the storms and beyond.
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As the hurricane season ends in the Caribbean, and three months since Hurricane Irma caused the entire island of Barbuda to evacuate, Farmala Jacobs, Acting Executive Director of the Directorate of Gender Affairs of Antigua and Barbuda says the devastating hurricanes across the Caribbean this year show that we can no longer afford to leave anyone behind, and most certainly not women and girls.
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With the urgent need for hygiene products specifically for women, UN Women and UNFPA joint support meant that these supplies were distributed to women who had been evacuated from Barbuda, on the very same day they arrived in Antigua.
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Birthed from a desire to reunite their country which had been torn apart by civil war, the women of Rwanda began the journey of reconciliation. It was this early commitment to work together which they attribute to the country leading the world in women’s representation in Parliament.
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In the Caribbean, women are often described as the foot soldiers of the political parties, yet despite a consistently strong showing as voters, their voice and needs are not always reflected; and their presence in elected and appointed decision-making positions remains limited.
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As part of continued advocacy efforts around the recent launch of the UN Women flagship publication Progress of the World’s Women 2015-2016: Transforming Economies, Realizing Rights”, UN Women Regional Advisor Economic Empowerment – Elizabeth Villagomez Morales presented a copy to the Antigua and Barbuda Minister of Social Transformation, the Honourable Samantha Marshall.