Delivering a report of the VI’s implementation of the Santiago Commitment at the 60th Meeting of the Presiding Officers of the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean on February 23, 2021, Hon Malone shared that women in the Virgin Islands were disproportionately affected since they comprise the majority of workers in the tourism sector, employed at hotels, restaurants and other hospitality businesses.
He said women, and in particular, single-family households headed by women, were thrust into financial hardship.
“While we are beginning the process of recovery from the global pandemic, there is no doubt that it has taken a heavy toll on our society, particularly on women.”
In response to the financial challenges facing women and other vulnerable persons, Hon Malone said Government approved a “modest economic stimulus package” that provided financial and social assistance, including unemployment payments to laid-off persons, financial assistance to impacted businesses, and also financial assistance to civil society.
“We have continued to work with local NGOs such as the Family Support Network to ensure that struggling families are fed.”
Hon Malone continued that women are “disproportionately benefitting” from the assistance being provided by the Government in collaboration with civil society, private sector and international partners.
The Santiago Commitment, adopted by the member States of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) at the fourteenth session of the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2020, is a regional tool to address the structural causes of gender inequality and to foster policies to respond to the pandemic in the short, medium and long term.
In the Santiago Commitment, the governments of the region agreed to implement gender-sensitive countercyclical policies to mitigate the impact of economic crises and recessions on women’s lives, and reaffirmed the need to accelerate the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Regional Gender Agenda, adopting new commitments on innovative and cutting-edge issues.
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