Labour dept. concerned about higher unemployment rate among women

The Department of Labour is working toward eradicating gender-based discrimination in the workplace, Director of Labour John Pinder said yesterday.

“No longer can you just look at some jobs and say, ‘Well, they’re masculine jobs or feminine,’” Pinder said.

“That has been the way in which a number of employers have been looking at some jobs. I believe that it’s unfair that some employers still look at the fact that women are more fragile than a male, and they’ll choose the male over the female.

“But, if a job is out there and a female meets the standard and there’s an opportunity for her to get that job, I believe we have to ensure there is no discrimination and policy is being put in place to address these things.

“These are concerns that are being continuously addressed, you know, and we have to also ensure that whatever the jobs pay, if a person is male or female, they should get that salary. There are still concerns about women being discriminated against as it relates to salaries.”

Pinder’s comments come in the wake of data released by the Department of Statistics on Friday, that showed that despite attaining higher education, unemployment for women is higher than it is for men.

Of the unemployed individuals who had completed secondary school, 67.2 percent were women and 62.5 percent were men.

Young women, those aged 15-24 and core-aged women, those aged 25 to 54, were more than likely to be unemployed than their male counterparts.

Youth unemployment for women was the highest recorded for all age groups, which stood at 20.7 percent compared to 19.5 percent for men.

Yesterday, Pinder said there is a concern about the higher unemployment rates among women.

He said a recent International Labour Organization conference, which he attended, also indicated that there is international concern from individuals who “feel as though some jobs…still discriminate against women”.

“We have ensured that policies are put in place to actually discourage discrimination against women in the job market,” Pinder said.

“A number of the jobs that may become available seems to be, like, more physical in nature, so, for that reason, employers would prefer males over females. But I see more women getting involved in construction now because that’s a big market.

“That, I believe, will help to address that issue of women being unemployed. Again, we have to educate the Bahamians on jobs that are available to cause them to equip themselves for those jobs.”

In May 2019, the labor force totaled 214,890, consisting of 102,730 women and 112,160 men.

The data further shows that at the time of the survey there were 22,635 people unemployed – 11,230 women and 11,405 men.

The national unemployment rate decreased from 10 percent in May 2018 to 9.5 percent in May 2019.

The latest numbers also reflect a drop in the unemployment rate compared to the 10.7 percent recorded in November 2018.

Women were unemployed at a rate of 9.9 percent.

Men were unemployed at a rate of 9.2 percent.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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