Supporting Women’s Entrepreneurship to #PushForward their Economic Self Sufficiency and Reduce GBV Vulnerability
L-R: Tonni Brodber, Representative for UN Women MCO Caribbean, and Pearson Bowen, Host of CBC TV8's Morning Barbados show
Bridgetown, Barbados, 1 December 2022: Women need to be engaged more in growth industries for increased sustainability, thereby reducing their economic dependence and vulnerability to gender-based violence.
Representative of the UN Women MCO Caribbean Tonni Brodber, in an interview on CBC TV8 Mornin’ Barbados said that the pay disparity still surprises many:
“Because we see women leading at UWI, we say 70-80% of those who are graduating with UWI degrees are women, however this does not translate into employment, e.g. Women tourism workers earned a mere 68% of men’s wages. It is therefore no surprise that 85% of economically vulnerable tourism workers in Barbados were women and 55% of those were below the poverty line (UNDP, UNICEF & UN Women, 2020c) . What the data shows that the data also shows that those women who are in an economically vulnerable position are more at risk of violence in their relationships (https://caribbeanwomencount.unwomen.org/).
She told the morning show host Pearson Bowen: “So what we have been trying to do is to start at the very beginning, encouraging young women and girls to get involved in growth industries. We need to be creating an enabling environment for women who have that entrepreneurial drive to be able to take advantage of it.
She added the enabling environment includes acknowledging that unpaid care responsibilities disproportionately affect women.
“We saw during the pandemic, women’s responsibilities in the home increased two times that of men and that is taking care of the children, playing with the children, doing the homework with children, doing the care work in terms of cooking, cleaning and of course taking care of the elderly.
The Government of Barbados does have a fantastic programme of subsidised childcare which is one way to do it, but how do we expand these services to create the enabling environment.”
The UN Women Representative said there are a lot of women and girls working in the hospitality sector, which is good, except that sector is very risk prone when it comes to climate change impacts as well as broader shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
“So women need to be in positions where there are in more resilient industries as well and we support the services and hospitality industry across the UN System to become more resilient as well,” she added.
The interview to mark the 16 Days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence Against Women and Girls also occurred on World AIDS Day. The UN Women Representative highlighted the interrelatedness of HIV/AIDS and risk for violence.
“When you have increased vulnerabilities… through negative stereotypes or socio-economic realities… what the data has shown is that those who are HIV positive are also at increased risk for violence within their relationships.
“Across the Caribbean, thanks to the hard work of PAHO/WHO and many within the health sector within Governments and in Barbados, the stigma is starting to decrease, so those who are HIV+ feel more comfortable accessing services for help when they do experience violence,” Ms. Brodber said.