The need for more women joining the labour force was recently stressed by the Deputy Programme Manager in Gender and Development at Caricom, Ann-Marie Williams during a recent interview with Guyana Times.
Her sentiments were shared at a forum earlier this week before Guyana joined the rest of the world in observing International Women’s Day.
According to Williams, Government should do more for women in the area of violence, while also highlighting the importance for the rates of women’s participation in the workforce to increase.
The need for more women earning their own living has been earmarked as a major method of decreasing the levels of violence against them.
It is a known fact that most women endure abusive relationships, especially if they have children to fend for.
Asked what Caricom has been doing to ensure that more women join the workforce, Williams said it is not an issue that can be tackled independently.
“It’s not really an issue for Caricom to tackle singlehandedly but it is an issue for the entire region to tackle. We need to support women in economic empowerment opportunities,” she said.
Williams stressed that parents tend to train their children to grow up and gain employment with the Government, instead of teaching them to create jobs.
“If you look at where women are concerned a lot of them work in the informal sector so how do you help them with small loans and small grants to sort of formalise that kind of business and to raise the labour force participation rate,” the Caricom representative posited.
She was keen to note that some educated women choose to stay at home, which is an important decision.
According to her, if the Government is serious about employing measures to help women build their own businesses then more taxation may be necessary.
Williams, when asked by this publication if she feels that the Government is doing enough for women in this regard said “no”. She explained, “It will never really be enough but we really have to look at how development agencies and partners can really support countries in these initiatives for them to raise more grant monies and also small corporative and communities can support each other in terms of getting more employment for women”.
The Social Protection Minister, Amna Ally, at a recent forum acknowledged that Guyana is currently grappling with certain issues pertaining to gender equality.
Ally also pointed out that she is cognisant of the fact that limited access to finances for women to pursue business ventures can be a major obstacle that prevents women from becoming entrepreneurs.