Despite the achievements Caribbean countries have enjoyed regarding some of the successes women and girls have had academically and career-wise, there is still a level of inequality which exists between the sexes, especially when it comes to more rural and lower income communities.
Deputy Resident Representative of UN Women in the Caribbean, Tonni-Ann Brodber made this observation as she addressed the start of a three-day regional training workshop on Green Climate Fund Project Design at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel on Monday.
She stated that, “The link between gender and climate change is not clear because there is a lack of clarity in what we mean when we refer to gender. However, the fact that the Green Climate Fund is talking about gender policy in this workshop will help reinforce the link, because gender inequality and climate change are two important elements within the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”
She gave the example of the agricultural sector as one where some inequalities between the sexes still existed. “If we look at Dominica, agriculture makes up 17.38 per cent of that country’s Gross Domestic Product, but men comprise 85 per cent of the workers in agriculture and fisheries, and women only make up 15 per cent of that number. In St. Lucia, men dominate land ownership but there are more women involved in agro-processing. However, their sales are declining because many of them are home-based manufacturers and their products often do not meet international standards.”
Brodber also spoke about how natural disasters affected both men and women in the initial stages, as well as in the aftermath, and said in some cases, women bore a heavier burden after the storms. “Anecdotal evidence suggests more men tend to die than women in the initial stages because they are taking risks to save lives and secure properties, but afterwards, economically, women get most of the impact since they have less access to financial resources, and if they used their homes as business places they will also have lost their livelihood.
Meanwhile, older women are left with “bloated households”, taking care of more children and elderly people in their families, while the young adults either left their rural communities or indeed, the country, to seek employment. We found this happened in Dominica immediately after Hurricane Maria, where on average rural households rose from two to five members.”
She stated that her agency, in association with the United Nations Development Programme, WFP, and CDEMA, with funding from the Canadian Government and the UK-based development agency, DFID, would soon commence a study entitled ENGENDER highlighting the impact of climate change on the different genders in the Caribbean.
The Green Climate Fund was established in 2010 by the 194 countries who signed onto the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and has so far been involved in 111 projects in 99 countries, including some in the Caribbean and Latin America, at a cost of some US$5.23 billion. (DH)