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Bahamian single women take brunt of COVID-19

* Lead Caribbean on job losses, 'worsening diet'

* But women enjoy better bank access than men

* Bahamas 'better targeting' social safety benefits

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

Bahamian single women have born the brunt of COVID-19's economic devastation to lead the Caribbean on both job losses and "worsening diet", the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has revealed.

The multi-lateral lender's Mind the gender gap report, based on surveys conducted in the Bahamas and five other Caribbean nations in April 2020, found that the pandemic's economic fall-out has only served to widen the region's gender inequalities.

Noting that more than half the total respondents in The Bahamas, some 50.2 percent of men and women combined, reported losing jobs due to COVID-19 lockdowns and other restrictions, the report's authors said single women in this nation were the most impacted out of any group in the Caribbean.

"This difference is statistically and economically significant, and will likely exacerbate pre-existing inequalities in the labour market," the report said of gender issues. "The Bahamas recorded the highest share of single-females reporting job losses (56.2 percent) during the pandemic, whilst Suriname reported the lowest share of single-females reporting job losses (24.6 percent).

The other countries surveyed were Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago. The report also exposed income inequalities, which were again most prevalent in The Bahamas, where 81 percent of respondents from low income households reported job losses in their family - the highest figure out of all the Caribbean.

"Those that experienced job losses were mostly in low income groups (60 percent)," the IDB report said of the whole Caribbean. "These households were also less likely to have savings to buffer prolonged income shocks as well as alternative sources of finance to mitigate the shock."

Turning to COVID-19 enforced business closures, some 50.8 percent of total respondents in The Bahamas reported being impacted - a figure in line with the Caribbean average. Businesses owned by single Bahamian men were most impacted, with 57.3 percent of respondents reporting closures, while single women-owned ventures were affected the least at 47.3 percent.

"Falling income levels translated into lower living standards, particularly for women," the IDB report added. "Changing dietary habits, and the share of respondents reporting going to bed hungry, were used as proxies to measure changes in living standards....

"Respondents of all civil status reported a worsening diet during the pandemic compared to January 2020. Yet this was more prevalent amongst single-females: 47.7 percent of single-females reported a worsening diet compared to 42.5 percent of single-males and partners.

"Out of the six Caribbean countries, single females in The Bahamas reported the highest incidence of a worsening diet (56.2 percent), whilst partners reported the lowest incidence (34.3 percent of the population)," it continued.

"Single females in Jamaica were the sub-group that reported the highest incidence of persons going to bed hungry (36 percent), over six times the incidence in comparison to single males in The Bahamas and Barbados (5.6 percent respectively, the lowest rate in the region)."

However, when it came to bank account access, Bahamian women - at 84 percent of respondents - fared better than men, at 80 percent, in terms of their direct connectivity to financial services.

The Bahamas was also highlighted for expanding its social safety net coverage from 31 percent of families to 39.8 percent when COVID-19 struck, and for better targeting these benefits to those truly in need.

"Five out of six countries expanded their social programme coverage, highlighting The Bahamas (which expanded from 31 percent to 39.8 percent), and Trinidad and Tobago (which expanded from 21.9 percent to 31.2 percent)," the IDB report said.

"Targeting seemed to improve during the pandemic in The Bahamas, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, with a larger share of lower income households receiving social benefits.... Breaking down these results by country, we see that only The Bahamas had a greater increase in social assistance coverage of households with single females than households with single males and partners."

Comments

tribanon 1 year, 7 months ago

Just more male bashing by the globalist bureacrats at the alphabet soup agencies. They won't stop until all men are run into the ground save for those privileged to be in the wealthy ruling class within the New World Order. The goal of these globalists is to destroy all the glue that has traditionally held a civilized society together. Bashing men targets the institution of marriage because it makes fewer and fewer men ever want to think about tying the knot and raising children in a nucleated family structure.

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FrustratedBusinessman 1 year, 7 months ago

Much agreed tribanon.

The propaganda has noticeably intensified in the past couple of months, it makes me wonder what the powers that be have planned.

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Economist 1 year, 7 months ago

The facts speak for themselves. The question is how we even the playing field? The report does not discuss the reason for the inequity in the system. What steps do we need to take? Is it the type of jobs that these women have? Is it that they are taking care of children without the assistance of the fathers? I can think of a number of women who refuse to let the baby daddy have any relationship with the child after he and she break up thus putting pressure on themselves and denying the child support that it would otherwise get.

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nassau98@aol.com 1 year, 7 months ago

I support the Goverment. Take your wife and your children back to your own country and go fishing there. God bless you Minister Johnson and Pintard for taking this stand. Oh, by the way I hope we discover a lot of OIL.

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stillwaters 1 year, 7 months ago

I have always wondered if these single women with multiple children know that the price of a packet of birth control pills is far, far less than taking care of a child for at least 20 years.....sometimes 30

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joeblow 1 year, 7 months ago

... their choices makes it obvious that they lack basic critical thinking skills.

Equally as sad is that abortions that occur because of their lack of discretion may far outnumber the amount of births. Yet we wonder why there seems to be no respect for life in this country!

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 7 months ago

These reports are somewhat shallow don't you think? If the govt's response to the pandemic is to stimulate construction and start laying sidewalks, how are women advantaged? It's a self fulfilling prophecy that's completely ignored in the analysis.

It would have been better analysis to look at where men were employed, where women were employed before the pandemic and how each sector was affected. Tge hotel industry is a good target since we know they took a big blow. How many employees does Bahamar have, how are those employees broken down by sector. Bahamar kept a skeleton crew on, which areas did they keep and are those areas male dominated?

So the question is when these economic shocks occur does govt need to think about stimuli that specifically target women? I've heard the economists say that stimulus packages and such are discussions for the countries that can print money, so I'll leave that to them on whether it makes sense.

But to the article, the interesting thing about the type of analysis is how it relates to this discussion about oil and making "everybody" rich. Rachel Maddow wrote a book on the oil industry where she analyzed a similar effect. How oil disadvantages women. Govts become "lazy"(my terminology). With the profits from oil in the coffers they stop focusing on other industries stop thinking of ways to diversify or grow anything else, "their belly full yuh see". And oil typically employs men. So with other industries waning and oil male dominated, what happens to the women?.. Funny, oil has an economic parallel to a natural disaster

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Hoda 1 year, 7 months ago

How in our misogynistic patriarchal society the Bahamian man can complain and bemoan their life is very confusing. How terrible to hate the society you built, how unfortunate to hate the all boys club you built - woaw is me.

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