Concerns including the fact that more women were living below the poverty line was one of the concerns that brought scores of women out on the streets of Bridgetown for a Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) march
to mark International Women’s Day.
Coordinator of the BWU’s gender equality committee Wilma Clement, speaking to members of the Press at Solidarity House shortly before joining other placard-bearing female and male marchers, said the economic crisis was having a major impact on women.
“What we have found is that many of the women who were members of the union have lost their jobs as a result of redundancies, both in Government and the private sector. As a result we thought that International Women’s Day would be a good opportunity to bring their message to Barbados,” she said.
“We need, for example, to look at what is happening in terms of their poverty levels. More women now are below the poverty level. More women are unemployed as a result of the redundancies and all of this is affecting the family structure.”
Today’s march through The City was also a platform for the union to express concern about violence against women.
“When some women do not have a job they are exploited by other persons because they need to have some kind of income to support their families. There are also other persons who see unemployed women as easy prey and targets,” Clement said, insisting that the message should be sent that “women need to be protected and seen as one of the most vulnerable groups in the society”.
“We need to ensure that they are able to progress once they are qualified and able. We also need to have the social services in place,” the BWU official said. Meantime, Clement said while more women were attending the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, they were not taking up senior managerial positions in the corporate world.
“We need to have those opportunities accessed for the women who are qualified to take the top management positions. We need to recognize equality is important if we are to take the country forward. The success of women is the success of the family, the community and the nation.”