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Total gender equality still lacking

SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

Total gender equality still lacking

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BARBADOS IS STILL STRUGGLING to achieve gender equality.
That is the view of Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development Esther Byer-Suckoo, who admitted that while Barbados has made some progress in recent years, there was still more work to be done.
“We have not achieved true gender quality. We have come a long way and I know that many of us who travel and who sit in meetings with persons from other nations, we know that we are well along and well advanced compared to many other nations.
“But we are not there yet . . . but I do believe we can achieve it,” Byer-Suckoo stated as she delivered the feature address at the Bureau of Gender Affairs Symposium at the Baobab Tower, Warrens, St Michael earlier this week.
?While insisting that both men and women prospered when gender quality was fostered, especially in the workplace, the Minister said there was a need to ensure that there was equality in those policies relating to employment.
“It is important that our policies for hiring, rehiring, for training and for social services and for healthcare and other services take note specifically of their impact on gender,” she outlined.
“Not to favour men or to favour women, but to ensure the exact opposite and that no group is particularly favoured and more importantly, that no group is left out.”
Byer-Suckoo revealed that her ministry was exploring the option of including an additional stipend for single parents attending the Vocational Training Boards.
She said this would encourage those parents to continue to pursue their studies while putting them in a better position to be able to support their children.
The minister admitted this was extremely important considering that 47 per cent of this island’s households were headed by women.
“It is important that we look at such policies in urban development and employment, education and housing, through that gender length and ensure that there is gender equality.”
Byer-Suckoo also lauded the men for their increased involvement in looking after their children and families.
Ernesta Drakes, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Social Care too contended that women were still not being treated as equal to men.
She said this was shown in the fact that although females were outperforming males at schools and in the universities, males were still dominating the high earning jobs.
Drakes argued this showed there was still a definite gender gap as it related to wages.
During the symposium, participants discussed several topics including, Gender in Urban Planning, Gender and the Sexual Division of Labour and Gender and Access to Housing and Finance.