Business Monday: Caribbean women in labour force disadvantaged

Women are disadvantaged in the labour market, with lower level and lower paying jobs than men in the Caribbean.

According to the 2016 United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Report (HDR) for the Caribbean, which focuses on several groups and their “vulnerabilities”, 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.

“A joint World Bank Inter-American Development Study, using 2003 data for Jamaica and 2004 data for Barbados, focused on gender earning gaps that are not explained by individual characteristics different from those rewarded by the labour market, such as age, education, time in the job, etc. This study found that men, with the same education level and age, earn 25 and 12 per cent more than women in Barbados and Jamaica, respectively,” the Caribbean report outlines.

It also indicated that unexplained gender earning gaps are smaller in high-skilled jobs and larger in low-skilled ones. Occupational experience in Barbados and job tenure in Jamaica succeed in explaining part of the gender earning gaps in these countries.

“Gender earning gaps are larger among low-income workers in Jamaica, as in most of Latin America and the Caribbean (data on earnings distribution for Barbados are not available), suggesting an association between gender earning gaps and poverty”.

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 per cent, whilst that of men decreased by 2.5 per cent. However, gender differences are large, with 59.3 per cent of women in labour force versus 78.7 per cent for men, according to the report. (TL)

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