UN Women representative M Alison McLean making a presentation at the seminar organised for International Women's Day by WPortfolio in collaboration with the Bureau of Gender Affairs and the National Organisation of Women. (Picture by Gercine Carter)
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Women have made significant inroads into male-oriented areas of business, but there is still some distance to go to achieve true equality and status.
This was the consensus of participants in a seminar entitled Women On Worth – Gender Equality And Feminity In The Business World.
The women attended the all-day event organised by the female-owned and run company WPortfolio, in collaboration with the Bureau of Gender Affairs and the National Organisation of Women at the Hilton yesterday.
It was held as part of International Women’s Day and featured workshops and extensive discussions on how women could up their game to become more assertive and competitive and gain the recognition they deserve in the world of business.
Topics such as career development for women, coaching and networking and issues important to women in the workplace were discussed by panellists and explored in workshops and presentations by high profile local and visiting speakers from diverse spheres.
Canadian High Commissioner Marie Legault noted that women’s participation in the labour force universally continued to be lower than that of men, which she attributed to factors such as “unequal access to opportunity, legal obstacles and wage gaps”.
Legault focused on the social, political and economic status of women in the CARICOM region, with specific reference on poverty, gender-based violence and sexual harassment but noted steps were being taken “in the right direction” to address many of these issues.
“As we celebrate International Women’s Day, I hope the world continues to progress and understand that we all have to gain from a more equal society, not one where men and women are the same, but one where one’s right or opportunity does not depend on being male or female,” the ambassador said to an audience that included Governor General Dame Sandra Mason.
Mary Alison McLean, representative UN Women Multi Country Office for the Caribbean also spoke to the need for female empowerment in the business world.
“In 2018 the evidence is incontrovertible that gender equality in business is good for the bottom line,” McLean said. She noted advocacy was necessary until all the barriers which denied women equal opportunity and mobility in the workplace and the labour market were eliminated. (GC)