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New study looks at role of women in development within ACP

Published:Tuesday | September 23, 2014 | 12:00 AM
File Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago, Kamla Persad-Bissessar
Portia Simpson Miller

BRUSSELS (CMC): A newly-released study on the role of women in advancing sustainable human development in African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries has highlighted the prevalence of social and cultural norms that discriminate against women in ACP regions.

The EU-funded report, titled 'ACP Women, Actors in Development', documents 30 case studies illustrating the vital role of women's grassroots organisations, as well as the their potential to stimulate learning and innovation in development programmes.

The study notes that Caribbean countries have advanced in women's political participation and their access to decision-making spheres.

It said that several countries have been able to elect female heads of state over the course of women's involvement in politics in the Caribbean, including Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller of Jamaica and Prime Minister Kamla Persad- Bissessar of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

"While there has been increased women's representation in politics, in 2013 only 80 out of 543 elected representatives are women. Two countries, Guyana and Grenada, have over 30 per cent representation in the House of Representatives and the Dominican Republic, the only country which adopted a quota law, women occupy only 10 per cent of the senate seats and 21% of the seats in the House of Representatives," the report said.

But the report noted that, overall, the region achieved gender parity in education and, in most countries, there is a reverse gender gap in education as women have more average years of schooling than men.


"The participation of boys in the education system has declined progressively through secondary and tertiary levels. At the secondary level, girls are far more likely to be enrolled than boys regionally, this disparity is particularly profound in Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago," the report indicated.

The report notes that although access has been universalised, national figures overlook differences within each country, especially between capital cities and rural areas, between groups of different racial, ethnic, social class, and others who suffer discrimination and have serious difficulties in accessing and remaining enrolled in school.

In some countries, the early school dropout rate in primary education surpasses 30 per cent and 38 per cent of urban women finish their education cycle to a greater extent than indigenous women living in rural areas, the report noted.