Presentation on theme: "1/12/2014 1. Introduction – The Current Context of Social Life in the Caribbean Economic Neo-Liberalism, Gender and Social Life in the Caribbean Gangs,"— Presentation transcript:
Introduction – The Current Context of Social Life in the Caribbean Economic Neo-Liberalism, Gender and Social Life in the Caribbean Gangs, Guns and Criminal Violence – Implications for the Care Work Women and the Care Economy: Reconciling Work with Family Conclusions and Recommendations 1/12/2014 2
In 2003, Caribbean Sociologist and Gender Studies Scholar Linden Lewis noted the following: The Caribbean is at a critical juncture of its history and development. The economic and social challenges facing the region are daunting to say the least. The region faces a future without any guarantees. 1/12/2014 4
Today the Caribbean is facing a serious economic crisis, the culmination of the impact of neo-liberal economic policies over the last two decades as well as the impact of the current economic crisis in the Global North. It has come after a close to 20-year period where the forces of free trade and the free market described by some as - The Washington Consensus, were paramount. 1/12/2014 5
These policies facilitated the dismantling and removal of the many of the social and economic systems established in the Anglophone Caribbean in the aftermath of the labour disturbances of the 1930s and World War II (although not to the same extent in all countries). In other words a weakening of the social sector. They also opened up local and regional markets by insisting on the removal of subsidies on local agriculture. 1/12/2014 6
With the decline in agriculture and manufacturing local economic opportunities for the majority of poor women and men have also significantly declined resulting in increased poverty and regional or international migration. Yet women, especially middle-class women made good use of educational opportunities resulting in women having higher educational levels than men at a time of increasing male school dropouts and male youth criminality which is a major concern in the region. 1/12/2014 7
The visibly improved performance of young women in the education system where females comprise 60-70% of the university population has raised questions about continued state support for womens programmes Today there is increased concern from the State in high levels of youth criminality including criminal violence, school violence and poor educational performance.. 1/12/2014 8
The gains for women are often juxtaposed against the losses for men It can be argued that this is the negative result of the lack of support for parents and caring work. Today child care and elderly care continue to the primarily the responsibility of women with limited support. 1/12/2014 9
The issue of youth criminality brings together many of the social, economic and gender questions currently facing our region: The Caribbeans location within the regional and global economy; The differential gendered impact of socio-economic policy; and The collapse of the social sector in many although thankfully not all of our countries over the years of economic neo-liberalism; 1/12/
The increased burden of care placed on families, and on mothers in particular with little state or partner support; The normalisation of the gun as the weapon of choice through the globalisation of the US entertainment industry; The emergence of the drug economy as a replacement of the now disappearing productive industries; The gendered constructions of masculinities and the significance of violence within it; 1/12/
The sexual division of labour and the responsibilities of women and men within it; The need for attention to the quality of our education systems and not only the quantity; The need to support parents in the normal yet challenging role of parenting in the contemporary world. 1/12/
1/12/ Reconciling Work with Family
Caribbean sociologists and demographers have stressed the concept of the household as not coterminous with the concept of family. Caribbean family forms defied traditional western norms of family and were often considered deviant. Social welfare systems are based on the traditional conjugal family and the notion of the male breadwinner despite the significant deviation from this norm. The idea of family in the Caribbean goes far beyond the household to include all known relatives, close friends of ones parents and their children. 1/12/
Trinidad and Tobago was the first country in the region to pass legislation on Measuring unwaged work. The Counting Remunerated Work Bill was introduced in February 1995 and passed in It was piloted in the Parliament as a Private Members Bill by a woman independent senator – Diana Mahabir-Wyatt 1/12/
It requires the CSO and other public bodies: to produce and maintain statistics relative to the counting of unremunerated work and to provide a mechanism for quantifying and recording the monetary value of such work It examines – agricultural work, care-giving of the sick, the disabled, the elderly, and very young; work carried out in and around households, unpaid social safety net work carried out by both women and men in NGOs – in satellite accounts 1/12/
This cause had been championed for years by Clotil Walcott, grassroots womens and labour activist and founder of the National Union of Domestic Employees (NUDE) which in 1980 was affiliated to the International Wages for Housework Campaign Her daughter Ida Le Blanc would continue her work on Domestic workers rights. 1/12/
Females 15+ performed 1,204,461 hours work in the week preceding the census Males 15+ performed 612,878 hours Most time – was spent in Cleaning the house 21% - Males and 24% females, followed by Washing Laundry A sexual division of labour existed. Men did most of the Gardening and rearing of animals and Home Repairs and Maintenance Males also participated more in sports and leisure activities ( not included in the total above) Females more in community and volunteer work NITRA) 1/12/
This Study found that: Much of womens work does not appear in national statistics Unpaid unrecognised activities were more numerous in low-income households Non-monetary contributions unvalued economically and in relation to human value Inability to measure this contribution prevents an accurate assessment of output 1/12/
This Study was carried out by a Womens organisation affiliated to the International Women Count Network, dissatisfied with the slow pace of government action found that: the typical working day for women ranged from hours, with little help from anyone, often with minimal and unreliable technology, limited access to amenities and with very little leisure or free time for themselves 1/12/
In June 2011 the ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers was approved in Geneva This was the culmination of many years of struggle by domestic worker organisations. Central to this struggle was Ida Le Blanc daughter of the late Clotil Walcott who had fought for the recognition of unwaged work in Trinidad and Tobago 1/12/
The rest of this presentation draws heavily on the study – Reconciling Work and Family: Issues and Policies in Trinidad and Tobago, by Rhoda Reddock and Yvonne Bobb-Smith, ILO Conditions of Work and Employment Series, No. 18, /12/
Over the past few decades, the increasing industrialisation and diversification of the economy and the impact of the womens movement have resulted in complex changes in society and economy. Families and households have had to respond to the quick pace of technological change, workplace demands, migration of family members, increasing income inequalities, inflation and the resulting social dislocation, 1/12/
Today much of the blame for the increase in youth criminality and violence is placed on parents. There has even been a call for parents to be held legally responsible for the behaviour of their children. Womens involvement in work outside the home is also blamed for this situation. 1/12/
Women as household heads households below the poverty line tend to be larger and headed by females who are often single mothers with dependent children, or contain at least one elderly person living alone or in an extended family setting sometimes having responsibility for the entire household. Elderly in Households 22% of all households had at least one older person (65 years and older). Of these, 42% were extended family households while 21% comprised persons living alone.
Parents utilize the services of paid help for preschoolers, such as daily or live-in domestic help. They place children in the care of neighbours or relatives. They give responsibilities to older siblings; They use private or public child-care services. They hire help for after school care. They choose jobs, which have flexible hours to manipulate their work time around hours for childcare. They establish their own businesses.
Although families are small, they still depend on extended family support e.g. grandmothers, other relatives and friends; Where these are not available or in a crisis - babysitters, child care centres etc. are used. In many instances grandparents esp. grandmothers become principal caregivers when parents migrate or are no longer available to their children – usually due to drug addiction, alcoholism, mental health problems, homicides, imprisonment or chronic ill health e.g. HIV and AIDS.
Single fathers were a minority and more likely than married fathers to be living in an extended or complex household and therefore to have more adult support available. She observed: A multi-family single parent male headed household means that children have potentially more access to adults than children living with just their fathers. The problems of solo parenting differs for men and women in the Trinidad and Tobago context. Solo fathers receive more volunteer help from friends and kin, probably because men are assumed to be less capable of childrearing than women (Bronte Tinkew,1998:31). 1/12/
Women continue to have major responsibilities for housework and child care; Some men have become more sensitized and share responsibilities mainly in transporting children to and from school, supervising homework and grooming children; Women reported difficulties in assigning housework to family members including children.
Difficulty in continuing breastfeeding after returning to work I returned to work when my son was 3½ months old. I visit his daycare every working day to breastfeed him and to express milk. How do I do it? My day goes like this: I breastfeed him at about 7:00 am before we leave home. I drop my (two) older children to school and then leave my baby in St James. I begin my lunch hour at 11:00 am and drive for 20 minutes from downtown, Port of Spain (capital) to St James (suburbs). When I arrive there, he is usually hungry and looking out for me, so I breastfeed him immediately… I eat the lunch I have brought with me and drive back to work, getting there by 12:30 pm (Helen Ross, t.i.b.s NEWS April//June 2004: 1-2).
There is no synchronization of work hours and school hours. Schools can end at any one of these times , 1.30, 2.00, 2.30, 3.00 or 5.15 p.m. (with extra lessons). Women, increasingly a part of the labour force, have used innovative coping strategies to reduce the conflict that work-family responsibilities produce and to manage their time; Men to a lesser extent are visible in this respect but usually in specific areas e.g. providing transportation. 1/12/
Mr. J, Taxi-driver, does not live with his 3 children, he however shuttles them to school and back home. One child attends school in Port of Spain and two others in Maraval. Outcome: security for children, but severe loss of earnings during peak hours.
The unpredictability of this countrys infrastructure especially transportation and utilities e.g. water and electricity - heighten work-family conflict; The citizens fear of criminal violence has placed more stress on working parents who seek to ensure their childrens safety; Middle and upper-income women/parents use their financial resources for babysitters, special transport arrangements etc. low-income women are unable to access similar support structures 35
Mrs C. leaves South Trinidad for her job in Port of Spain at 5:15 am arriving at work at 6:00 am. Her seven year old son travels to school a few miles away in a carpool. When his father is not at work, he takes him to school. She leaves work between 4:00 and 5:00 pm and arrives home between 6:30 and 8:00 pm in the evening. She notes that quality time with her son on a daily basis is reduced to merely an hour or less, as she sees him go to bed, and perhaps reads to him.
Mrs. K has developed a network of resources... Her day begins at 5:00. Because of the flexible time in her new job, which she chose because it helps with her plan, she can fully dress and groom her daughters for school, and give them packed lunch kits before a female taxi driver transports them to the babysitter. They remain there approximately an hour, before the driver takes them to school. They have the reverse trip in the afternoon, when they remain at the babysitters until she is on her way home from work, between 16:00 to 18:00, depending on the structure of her day 1/12/
Lack of synchronization of work and school hours Day Care centres 3 mths – 3 years Breast feeding support in workplaces School transportation Gender-sensitive parenting programmes Child support and fatherhood 1/12/
1/12/ Illness/HIV/AIDS Sexual Division of Labour Migration
1/12/ Full-time work Part-time work Work hours and school hours Flexible schedules
1/12/ Widows and Orphans fund NIS Employee assistance programmes Homework centres and after school Care Vacation Camps Disability Assistance Grants School Nutrition programmes Early Childhood Education Centre - State School transportation
Need for Improved data collection and analysis. The Central Statistical Office and various other sources of Institutional Data need to be strengthened to improve the quality and timeliness of data for planning and analysis. Greater use of gender indicators and gender disaggregated data. 1/12/
Strengthen Labour Ministries to improve monitoring systems of work conditions in low income occupations Rationalize school opening and closing hours Increase the centralization of essential services Consider tax incentives to businesses that implement practices to reduce work-family conflict Pass legislation to mandate child care centres in all housing estates, office complexes and industrial estates.
Flexi-time arrangements to be made standard Co- funded solutions e.g. Homework centres, crèches, in all new office complexes, housing schemes and industrial estates; DOCUMENT/PUBLICIZE BEST PRACTICES The AFETT survey of female friendly workplaces and Selection of the Top5 a good example Develop a workplace culture to encourage contributions to work-family compatibility policies 1/12/
o Introduce measures into collective bargaining aimed to address work-family conflict o Facilitate gender sensitivity training for all trade union personnel- male and female including shared domestic responsibility o Develop a public education campaign to introduce this issue and its impact, from parenting to worker commitment Selected Recommendations Trade Unions
Implementing these policies in the short run may be costly but much less so than the other impacts – Criminality and violence; High rates of worker absenteeism; Low productivity; Poorly adjusted and unhealthy citizens