by George Alleyne
The office of UN Women will soon be working with an organisation of women with disabilities in Barbados to further female leadership in communities.
Representative for UN Women in Barbados, Christine Arab, this morning announced the collaboration during her address at the ‘Culmination of the Breakfast Club’, a graduation ceremony for 12 women with disabilities, who were trained over 10 weeks on issues relating to empowerment.
“My agency deals with gender, quality and women’s improvement. . .We’re trying to do much more at the community level to have discussions with young people, larger discussions about the dynamics that results in violence,” Arab explained at the NUPW, Horatio Cooke Auditorium.
She added, “It is part of our objectives and one of the reasons why I came today. We would like to work with women from the disabled community to be part of that conversation, to bring a particular perspective to the conversation and to be leaders in the conversation at a community level…we’re talking parish levels”.
Co-sponsored by the Barbados Council for the Disabled and the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Barbados, the Breakfast Club was launched on International Women’s Day, 2014.
The participants went through training on ‘being a self-advocate’; ‘importance of personal imagery/etiquette’; and ‘getting pumped’ through physical
Additionally, they participated in an awareness course on women’s rights, and another on sexual reproduction health.
“In the Caribbean whenever we talk about women being disadvantaged, there will always be someone who immediately says, ‘what about men?’,” Arab said, but contended, “This is not about putting women ahead of men. This is the simple statistical fact that in your country girls outperform boys in school, but they underperform boys in economic earning, labour activity. They are more likely to be poor, they are more likely to head large households that are poor”.
“And women with disabilities have two times likelihood of unemployment than men with disabilities. So even when people are facing disabilities, women with disabilities often face two-fold.”
“And we would like to do much more with women who are facing challenges, if [it is] because they are disabled, and want to know what those particular challenges are,” the UN official said further.