British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Victoria Dean, has urged Barbadian women entrepreneurs to form partnerships and support networks across the region to effectively address challenges they face.
Without listing them by name, Dean said she believed there were particular challenges which women in business in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean faced.
“There is underlying misogyny here which I haven’t experienced elsewhere,” the top United Kingdom diplomat said.
“There are longstanding expectations of the role women will play in home and family life.”
Addressing a group of female entrepreneurs at a Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED) seminar on Thursday, Dean said even though there was a small number of women in business, there were great opportunities across the region for them to take advantage of.
“There are women entrepreneurs like you right now having these conversations in St Lucia, Dominica, Cayman and Trinidad. Just as I have asked you to think about broadening your networks for support, please think too about broadening across the Caribbean. There are partners, customers and supporters out there, many of them women,” she said.
Giving a brief insight into her own professional journey in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) where she has performed a wide range of roles, including working in Washington and Paris, Dean also advised the women to stick close to their male colleagues as they climb the ladder of success.
She explained that as she climbed her own career ladder, it was mostly men who assisted her along the way, offering much needed advice and support.
At the event organized by Donna Every, WED Ambassador in Barbados, business women were given tips from various business leaders on how to better market their products and services, and also the importance of networking.
Producer of the Chrissy and Hush movies, Marcia Weekes, was awarded for her accomplishments in the local film industry. Malika Cummings, director of Caribbean Waste Management Inc., also received an award for her work. (AH)