Recently, CAPRI’s Director of Research, Dr Diana Thorburn, met with Sharon Coburn Robinson, Senior Director (Acting) at the Bureau of Gender Affairs to discuss how Jamaica can move to include women in its development goals.
It was agreed that an ideal policy is one which operates within the current bureaucracy. The main recommendation that Dr Diana Thorburn, Director of Research at CAPRI, shared was the implementation of subsidized vouchers for use at registered daycare centres through the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH). Similar programmes in Latin America and Africa have been shown to increase the productivity and wage-earning capacity of mothers.
More details on the logistics of this expansion will materialise following further discussions with relevant stakeholders. The main challenges to the expansion include ensuring that the amount of subsidy is realistic and that it is used for its intended purposes.
The importance of this recommendation stems from the overarching conclusion that the government ought to bear the responsibility for eliminating the burden of unpaid care work on women. This follows from the recognition that sustainable development goals must be inclusive of women’s needs in order to be effective. The national development goals currently make little to no mention of improving gender parity.
CAPRI will continue to investigate the dynamics of gender and development with further research, made possible by funding from the European Union.