Wed | Jul 24, 2019

Government calls for private sector to do more to empower women

Published:Wednesday | December 12, 2018 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer

Describing as glaring, the inequalities between Jamaica's women and men, the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport on Monday says the Government believes the private sector can do far more to greater empower the country's women.

The assertion was made yesterday by Dr Siddier Chambers, acting director of, community liaison in the Bureau of Gender Affairs, who brought remarks on behalf of Gender Minister Olivia Grange during a forum aimed at promoting gender equality in the Jamaican private sector.

Initiated by UN Women, the forum sought, among other things, support from private-sector leaders for the women's empowerment principles - seven steps that business and other sectors can take to advance and empower women.

"The government of Jamaica calls upon the private sector, one of the most significant pillars of growth and economic development, to greater support and strengthen its partnership with UN Women and the government in better utilising the labour force, especially the educated female labour force and the passionate female entrepreneurs," said Chambers.

She pointed out that data provided by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica indicated that as at July 2018, the female participation rate in the labour market stood at 51.1 per cent, compared to 66.4 per cent for males.

She noted also that the female unemployment rate was almost twice that of male with unemployment at 11.4 and 5.8, respectively, a trend which has been observed in the labour force over the past decade.

Paradoxically, she argued, the University of the West Indies reported that twice the number of females (68 per cent) compared to males (32 per cent) were enrolled in the 2016-2017 academic year, which has also been the trend for the greater part of the past decade.

"These statistics reveal that nationally, Jamaica has an educated female labour force that is underutilised," Chambers stated.

Chambers argued that over the years, the government, through its various ministries, departments, agencies and divisions, such as the Bureau of the Gender Affairs, continues to create pathways for women to participate more equally in national development and enhance their economic independence.

However, she further contended that the government is unable to fully support and absorb the women being left behind in the labor force who are willing and ready to work, but are unable to achieve this.