Caribbean Women in Leadership, Yep, Still a Crisis!

Men are from Mars Women are from Venus was never more evident to me than from a meeting that I was in today.  Two men were lamenting that the IDB created a lending program specifically targeted to women entrepreneurs in Latin America and the Caribbean. These esteemed, extremely bright, and well meaning gentlemen had surmised that since women are graduating in greater numbers than men, true ( and women make up a greater percentage of the overall workforce than men, not true 55%men, 45% women (source: Statin) that there is no need to create  incentive programs for women.  I’m fully astounded that anyone could dispute the plight of women in this day and age.

The Facts

The reality is that women are STILL disproportionately under represented in leadership roles in the Caribbean, even with two female Prime Ministers.  I’m just about convinced that having female Prime Ministers is conspicuously misleading.  Trinidad and Jamaica are the only two of the 15 Caricom member states with female leadership. Eighty – Seven Percent (87%) of Caricom is run by men. The same may be true in business, we see Thalia Lyn and Audrey Marks and somehow believe that we’re home free. Regardless of how many working women you see the data suggests that there aren’t enough, yet.

The gentlemen I was meeting with believed that women are represented in the majority in the financial services sector. Here’s the skinny, not nearly, not in leadership anyway.

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(Source: Each of their websites)

So what does it all mean? That we’ve got a long way to go but anyone that perpetuates a myth that women are treated equally in the workforce to men is a part of the problem, not the solution. It’s tantamount to saying that racism has disappeared since Barack Obama became US President. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that we’re making gains but have so much more ground to cover.

2 Responses to “Caribbean Women in Leadership, Yep, Still a Crisis!”

  1. Richard says:

    To be clear, we were speaking about economic and social forces (identified in the US but seen worldwide, including the Caribbean and the Middle East)specifically the Information revolution changing the structure of the economy, creating opportunities for women and raising their numbers at the executive level and reducing the salary gap. These forces have done and will continue to do a lot more for making women more visible in the boardroom than a few incentive programs, no matter how well intentioned.

    • wp_idaedle says:

      I’m tickled that you responded, it demonstrates integrity and confidence. The incentive programs don’t hurt and more are needed. There are pockets of improvement, but overwhelmingly women are underpaid and aren’t provided the same opportunities.

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