Women's Issues In Guyana

Violence still major cause of concern for women – Caricom Secretariat

Stabroek News – March 10, 2008

In its message for International Women’s Day, the Caricom Secretariat says violence still remains a major cause for concern for women and girls and boys. It is estimated worldwide that one in five women becomes a victim of rape or attempted rape and one in four women has been beaten or abused or will be during their lifetime. To achieve traction on issues such as violence against women, the prevalence of HIV and AIDS among young women, poverty and representation in decision-making bodies there is a need for strong actors and even stronger commitments by stakeholders, the message said. The facts are that women as a group generally have a higher incidence of poverty than men and within the Caricom region, women’s participation in parliaments continue to be less than optimal, falling short of the 30% target.

Generally, strides in gender sensitive approaches have been more likely to be considered in the social sector; education, and to some extent, health, but less so in the “harder” areas of finance, trade, transport, rural infrastructure and in emerging areas of focus such as sustainable development. This, in no way, diminishes the progress made in some areas of legislation and policy, labour market participation and increased access to public resources, the release said.

Caricom said restrictive macroeconomic policies can exacerbate social inequalities and thus, increase the level of hardship that women and girls and some men and boys experience. Economic policies have impacted disproportionately on women and girls, especially the poor.

It said addressing women’s inequality in employment, unequal access to productive assets and increased time burdens due to women’s unpaid work can help “accelerate economic growth and pro-poor growth. Gender inequality limits pro-poor growth.”

Caricom says aggressive attention to gender inequality means a more holistic and interconnected approach to development. In this regard, the implementation of gender sensitive public management reform realized through the public finance systems provides opportunities to integrate a gender perspective into the process of social, economic and political governance and rights based rationales.

It provides the connection between economic and social policy outcomes. Therefore, the region must resolve to promote gender equality so that sustained economic growth, poverty eradication and sustainable development can be realised.


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