Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Investment, Marsha Caddle, has lamented the gap that still exists regarding access to affordable childcare facilities for working women.
She expressed this regret last Saturday as she delivered the keynote address at the Soroptimist International Barbados Club’s Professional Development Workshop entitled: Sister Put Your Best Foot Forward virtual event.
The Minister told the large audience on Zoom that although Barbados had invested a lot in Government daycare and nurseries, regrettably, there was still a gap as it related to affordable access to daycare.
“What does that mean? It means that what we need are better and stronger polices that relate to care in the workplace and that means maternity and paternity leave and feeding arrangements for parents in the workplace; flexible work arrangements; which is a policy that is on the cusp of being the subject of consultation and roll-out in the public sector; and the erection of daycare facilities in and near commercial developments,” Ms. Caddle underlined.
She continued: “This was one of the policies that became popular in the region some time ago, but I fear that as we have moved on and we see a lot of private sector development, we have not, perhaps, insisted on having physical development planning done, such that you are required to have accessible affordable daycare close to where people are working.”
Minister Caddle articulated the view that that issue of childcare and caring for the elderly were two areas that still kept women out of the labour market.
She explained that in an ageing population, looking after the elderly represented what she described as the dependency ratio in a household, which tended to be higher in households headed by women as opposed to those headed by men.