The 2nd publication of our Statistical Digest is now available (for a fee), thanks to the untiring work of Donovan Herbert, Paulette Eddy and Peggy Fraser-Browne of the Research & Statistics Division in particular, and the entire Social Security staff in general. The Digest covers the period 2003 to 2008; and has some interesting – By lines, one of which is a chronicle of some differences between the sexes. Let’s examine the story line of 2008. It shows, for instance, that there were 12,853 women contributors, who worked for a total of 570,515 weeks, earned wages of EC$336,270,000 for the year, for an average annual wage of EC$ 26,163. On the other hand, there were 12,601 men who worked 511,497 weeks, earned EC$363,612,000 for an annual wage average of EC$28,856. Simply put, more women worked, worked 4 weeks more, on average, than men, and were paid EC$2,700 less, again on average, than men. In terms of new jobs, for 2008, while 733 women found work for the first time, 822 men did. So although more women worked, less found work for the first time. Interestingly, both sexes were largely drawn into the wholesale/retail trade (25% each), but the next largest provider of employment was the hospitality industry for women (17% of them) while men went into construction (22% of them). Muscle and brawn! In terms of self employment, there were fewer women entrepreneurs (106) compared to 155 male entrepreneurs. On the benefits side, the story line is the same. There were 896 Age pensioners who were women compared to 962 males. New women age pensioners cost the system EC$495,026 in 2008 while the new old men cost EC$782,442. There were more women pensioners who were in their 90’s (5) versus men who are 90+ years old (2). There were 35 Age grants to women, totaling EC$163,095 and 32 to men for a total of EC$329,219. These are persons who were paying into the system, but had not paid enough to earn pension rights. Notice here that the fewer men earned over twice as much! There were 129 invalidity pensioners who were women compared to the 91 who were male in 2008. These are persons who, By virtue of medical infirmity, cannot participate in the work force or are sick for longer than 6 months. For both sexes, most of these persons were in the age range 50-59 years, 51% & 53% respectively, but there were more younger men who were receiving this benefit (33% vs 29%). For survivorship, there were 526 females and 232 males, almost twice as many women survivors. For Disablement pensioners, there were 14 females and 48 males; 12 female death benefit pensioners and 5 male ones. For sickness benefits, women claimed 6,949 times for EC$4,071,308 compared to the 3,397 times that men claimed for EC$2,383,694. The sicknesses resulted in women being away from work for 73,019 days compared to the 37,145 for men. Job related injuries saw women reporting 330 times while men reported 508. Payment was EC$302,934 and EC$501,273 respectively. For 2008, based on the payment of Funeral Grants, 129 insured men departed this life compared to 73 insured women. The data reinforces the points that, more women are in the workforce than men, but earn more than women; men are not absent from work as much as women, do not check up on their health as often as women. Men succumb to disablement factors more easily than women, take more job risks (macho man!) than women, and die earlier and in greater numbers than women. Women take less and live longer! Maternity was almost the exclusive domain of women. Almost; if it wasn’t for the 19 maternity grants of EC$450.00 each that were paid on account of the father. Is this a paternity benefit? Yes, it’s a man’s world. But what good would it be without women? Notwithstanding, Social Security still sees itself as an equal opportunity institution, whose payment systems (income & expenditure) is gender neutral and wage based. It is that wage factor, not the gender, on which everything hinges. Come get your copy of the Digest and read all about it!
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