Better the Balance, Better the World

ORANJESTAD — Today is International Women’s Day (IWD), a day that is celebrated around the world on the 8th of March and is a day to reflect on how far we have come and how far we still have to go to truly achieve gender equality. This year’s theme is ‘Better the Balance, Better the World.’

Empowerment of woman is important and has a long way to go. With movements like #MeToo we can see women standing up against sexual harassment and receiving the acknowledgement for their rights. Unfortunately there are still many countries where sexual harassment is ‘part of culture’ like in India where rape is the fourth most common crime against women in India. Brazil, where female supporters from both teams recently protested against sexual harassment during a football game. A woman’s place is wherever she wants, including a stadium. Male fans responded by harassing the women. Stadiums aren’t the only place in Brazil where women’s rights are trampled on. On average, women earn 23 % less than men. Harsh abortion restrictions deny women of their reproductive freedom. Women also face widespread domestic violence. This ‘culture’ appears to be common for many Latin American countries including the Caribbean.

Inequality at Work

ECLAC released its report Social Panorama 2018 stating that on average, around 40% of the employed population of Latin America earns wages below the minimum established per country. That proportion is much higher among women (48.7%) and young people aged 15-24 (55.9%). The figure rises to 60.3% among young women. Universal policies must be implemented that respond to these differences in order to close the gaps in access that affect different groups of the population, and that also take into account both the old and new risk scenarios that will impact society as a whole, says ECLAC. In 2017, participation by women in the labor market continued to be less compared to men, at 50.2% and 74.4% respectively, while unemployment in women for that year was higher (10.4%) than for men (7.6%). More than half of working women (51.8%) are employed in low-productivity sectors, and of those, 82.2% are not affiliated with or drawing from a pension system. The low participation by women in paid work is in contrast to their high participation in non-paid work within the home: in Latin America, 77% of non-paid work is done by women, according to data from surveys on use of time. “Without adequate public policies to address key issues, such as the promotion of women’s training and employment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), to avoid job insecurity and to promote co-responsibility in care systems, women could not only lose out on the benefits of future jobs, but also run the risk of perpetuating existing gaps and the existing shortfalls of decent work.” concluded the document.

The UN Women’s global theme for IWD 2019 is ‘Think equal, build smart, innovate for change’, linking with the UN Commission on the Status of Women’s focus on social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure.

Aruba Today unfortunately was not able to find much focus upon this theme in Aruba on social media and printed media.  However it seems that Sketch Advertising together with Rockhouse Aruba will celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women today. More information on their Facebook. Q