Low labour productivity and unpaid care work continue to be barriers to women’s engagement in the labour market, and thereby hindrances to Jamaica’s continued development.
CAPRI recently attended a meeting with the Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre (WROC) to share the findings and recommendations from its latest report on the care economy. Dr Diana Thorburn, Director of Research at CAPRI, shared with WROC’s Executive Director, Nikiesha Sewell, the contemporary initiatives in Jamaica and the wider world which allow women to engage more with the labour market. It was discussed that at a recent WROC training project with the National Integrity Action (NIA), they found it necessary to hire a babysitter for women to be able to participate in their programme. In a similar vein, the Mexican and Colombian governments have provided free or subsidized childcare programmes which have been shown to increase the likelihood of the mother’s employment. In Africa, Mozambique has received US$40 million in loans from the World Bank to finance an expansion of its community based pre-school programme, where evaluation has found that caregivers of enrolled children were much more likely to engage in productive work than caregivers of children who were not.
Diana shared that it is CAPRI’s recommendation for the government to implement a subsidized voucher programme for registered daycare facilities. This could build on these insights and existing framework by expanding the provisions of the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) and the Early Childhood Centre.
Following the groundbreaking results of CAPRI’s pilot of a Time Use Survey, CAPRI has been granted funding from the EU to conduct follow up research. It is hoped that the implementation of these recommendations, as well as further research, will allow Jamaica to reduce the barriers to women’s productivity and entrepreneurship.