A senior accounting executive is recommending tax breaks and a stronger support system for women to allow them to hold careers of their choice while adequately caring for their families.
“I believe that working women need lives, working women need the support system around them,” Senior Partner at KPMG Carol Nicholls told a W Portfolio-organized International Women’s Day event at Hilton Barbados Resort today.
“On a national level we need proper transportation and road network because we need to be efficient. We need aftercare service [and] in this era of information and communication technology we need more electronic commerce to be efficient. I am not saying Government is to provide this, it is a combination of the Government and the private sector,” Nicholls stressed.
The senior accounting executive described these as “enablers that we require if we are to earn”, stressing that women earn money, pay taxes and created employment.
“Whether it is housekeepers, nannies, whatever support we pay for should be tax deductible because in order to earn income on which we pay taxes we have to create employment for others,” she said.
Today’s event, dubbed Women of the World and held under the theme Women of Worth – Gender Equality and Femininity in the Business World, was designed to create an opportunity for female leaders in various industries to meet and interact and share knowledge and experiences in an effort to inspire and motivate each other.
Nicholls argued that since women were often higher spenders than men, offering them tax deductibles on a range of services, including housekeeping and childcare services, would be good for Barbados’ struggling economy.
“There is a knock on effect. So when we talk about contributing to the economics of our economy, it really is a cascading effect, and people really don’t see [it],” she said.
Meanwhile, Denise Mongerie-Rogers, the owner of the business development and advisory company Rodjmon Holdings Inc, said there was a need for a change in culture and mindset, especially among businesses led by men, if women were to work and adequately care for their families.
She argued that if business leaders put certain measures in place to allow for greater flexibility for women to better care for aging family members and their children, it could lead to an increase in productivity, which the country desperately needs.
“It will take a change in culture in how men think about women in Barbados, in corporate Barbados, and other areas as well. I worked in corporate Barbados for 22 years and I believe that a lot of the people who are in control in these organizations are men who have been socialized one way, and that is to believe that men are in control and women must work for them,” Mongerie-Rogers said, adding that simple acts such as attaching daycare centres to the workplace or flexible working hours, would make a difference.
“Things like that make it easier for women to have peace of mind and I believe that if we have things like this in Barbados then there will be a lot more productivity in the workplace. Productivity is suffering in this country and we need to have initiatives that offer women more flexibility in our workplaces,” she insisted.
Notwithstanding, KPMG’s Nicholls said while progress had been made on work flexibility, data was lacking to adequately determine what measures were missing and which ones needed tweaking.
“In Barbados we have better diversity than in some other countries, so first we need to get the data together . . . but I do believe it should be monitored if we are to achieve that diversity,” she said.