GEORGETOWN, Guyana — Guyana’s Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Jennifer Webster, says women’s empowerment must be seen as a catalyst for growth and diversity of CARICOM economies.
She said Tuesday as Caribbean Week of Agriculture continues here that women’s empowerment is a catalyst for developing any society, and more so in the Caribbean.
“This is probably a great understatement, when we look at the contributions made by our women to development, especially as it relates to food and nutrition security.”
She spoke of the differing sizes, populations, and economic conditions of small island developing states (SIDs) in the Caribbean and the Pacific.
“What they do have in common, however, are many similar disadvantages such as being small in size, with a narrow range of resources, fragile ecosystems, excessive dependence upon international trade, and high transport and communication cost.” Webster further said women in the two regions play fundamental and significant roles in coping with these challenges.
These response mechanisms, Webster further stated, enable women to continue to contribute to food and nutrition security, and ultimately to improve the social and economic benefits of their respective countries.
CWA is being held under the theme “Linking the Caribbean for Regional Food and Nutrition Security and Rural Development”.
And Webster said that one cannot ignore the fact that women are rising to the challenge of food security even in the face of natural disasters, social and economic challenges, and other vulnerabilities.
“As leaders, we are obligated to protect their right to do so.”
The prospects of women in agro-business in the Caribbean and the Pacific are “indeed promising,” Webster said, adding, “And it is about time!
“The good news is that women in agribusiness are now the ‘new sexy’ in developmental circles.
“Women are being targeted for support under programmes offered by public sector institution, international development agencies, NGOs and large multinational private sector firms,” she said.
She however stated that new ways must be found to create new opportunities and expand existing ones “as we seek to promote more economic opportunities to support growth and development in the economies of our respective countries”.