The unspoken paradox of Caribbean women in the workplace

For Caribbean girls and women who have the opportunity, academic excellence is generally encouraged. As a result, there tends to be a larger proportion of females to male students at both the secondary and tertiary levels of our education system, and across most disciplines, including the STEM subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. For example, for the regional institution, the University of the West Indies and across the three main campuses (in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago), total female student enrollment ranges between 60% and 70%.

There are those who are quick to point out that females are well represented in our halls of learning. However, males have been under performing and their enrollment numbers have been declining, which is exacerbating many of the social challenges our countries have been experiencing, and so deserve our attention.

Whilst the issues associated with males and education ought to be addressed, it is interesting to note that post-school, and in the world of work, men still tend to fare better than women:

  • the unemployment rate is lower among men than women
  • in the same position, men typically make more money than women , and
  • men significantly outnumber women in positions of power, such as in senior management and executive positions, on boards, and in politics.

Why is this still happening?

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