Governments must integrate gender analysis in policy design and resource allocation

Daniel Best (R), Director of Projects at CDB, with some of the participants in the four-day workshop on Integrating Gender Analysis in Caribbean Trade and Economic Growth Programmes, held at the Caribbean Development Bank from November 23-26.

Daniel Best (R), Director of Projects at CDB, with some of the participants in the four-day workshop on Integrating Gender Analysis in Caribbean Trade and Economic Growth Programmes, held at the Caribbean Development Bank from November 23-26.

There is greater need for polices that increase productivity across the private sector, and which place special emphasis on women-owned businesses. This, as the results of an Inter-American Development Bank/Compete Caribbean study show that women-owned firms across the Caribbean are characterised by lower-levels of productivity than male-owned firms. The results were disclosed during a four-day workshop on Integrating Gender Analysis in Caribbean Trade and Economic Growth Programmes, hosted by the Caribbean Development Bank, CDB, at its headquarters in Barbados. Compete Caribbean is a private sector development program, and projects in the OECS countries are implemented in partnership with CDB.

Speaking at the close of the workshop, Marsha Caddle, Operations Officer in the Technical Cooperation Division at CDB noted this has policy implications for governments. “We know that women-owned firms tend to suffer from lower levels of productivity than those of men, and we also know that women owners of firms tend to hire more women managers than do men. This has some policy imperatives – what are some of the ways in which we can invest in women’s business that will have carry-over effects across the economy, and will contribute to gender equality?

The workshop ended on November 26, with participants signing off on a Position Paper recommending that their national governments systematically integrate gender analysis to inform policy design and resource allocation. Additional recommendations from the Positon Paper included:

(a) Governments engaging civil society organizations, including women-owned businesses, in consultative processes aimed at policy formulation, and

(b) Identification of a regional coordinating mechanism to help strengthen governments’ capacity to undertake gender analysis and to assist countries in transitioning from policy to implementation in a manner that strengthens gender in trade and growth policies and programmes.

CDB has been actively working to address gender equality concerns in access to employment, including through women’s increased participation in trade-related activities. In his opening remarks, Daniel Best, Director of Projects highlighted CDB’s efforts in the education sector: “We target women’s increased access to more varied Technical and Vocational Training, including for sectors that may have traditionally been male-dominated but that represent higher earning potential. In our trade projects, we support gender-sensitive value chain analysis and women’s increased participation in trade-related activities at the national and regional levels.”

The workshop was hosted by CDB, in partnership with The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and took place from November 23 -26, 2015. The overall objective of the workshop was to discuss the linkages between trade policies, export strategies and other trade related projects and economic activities, while demonstrating the benefits of integrating gender analysis in policy and programming at each level. This is the second year that CDB is hosting a workshop focusing on integrating gender analysis in trade policies. Participants hailed from eight of CDB’s Borrowing Member Countries, namely Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia and Suriname.