Concerns have been raised about women not benefitting as they should from what Barbados has to offer, despite steps to level the playing field.
And, Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Kirk Humphrey, has outlined that financial literacy should be seen as a critical stepping stone in the upward mobility for women.
He made these remarks today, while addressing the Business and Professional Women’s Club virtual seminar to launch its Financial Literacy Project.
“I am not convinced that this playing field is yet level…. The reality is that at the core of our country, there are still many women who are not benefitting from that which is good in Barbados,” he stated.
However, the Minister said that financial literacy taught persons how to manage their resources and to get the best opportunities.
“I think we have to be honest in our society. There are still too many people who do not have, and do we genuinely need to have a conversation around how we are going to be able to empower persons and women who do not have in this country? Otherwise, this becomes a first-world conversation to people who are living in what they think is a last-world reality,” Mr. Humphrey pointed out.
He added that the ability to understand skills, such as personal financial management, budgeting and investing, was critical, as it was more about managing money than actually having money.
“Both men and women need to understand financial literacy, and our women in particular,” he said, describing women as the backbone of the Barbadian society.
The Minister warned that financial illiteracy came with consequences, such as bad planning, and greater debt. “On the other hand, financial literacy comes with greater freedom and it comes with empowerment, and it will help us to manage those unforeseen events,” Mr. Humphrey said.
He welcomed the initiative of the Club, noting that it was encouraging for persons to use education to empower and enable others, particularly women at all levels, as it would result in their economic and financial stability.
The Minister cautioned against obtaining a “fast loan” which he described as “quick and very, very deadly”, and urged persons to remember that not all wants were needs.
However, he noted that Government intended to teach persons more about financial literacy, hence the establishment of the Financial Literacy Bureau under the Ministry of Energy and Business Development.