BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The effects of COVID-19 are felt globally by all sectors of society. The pandemic has deepened many pre-existing inequalities within societies such as those that are gender-based. Within the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis, women are currently facing the negative effects affiliated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In most societies across the globe, systems are unequal in relation to the access they give to women and men – that really is the underpinning of the inequality that has manifested as a result of COVID-19,” explained Professor Jeune Guishard-Pine, OBE, Business and Professional Women’s group representative.
The effects of the pandemic range from job loss to the increased cases of domestic violence against women. Professor Guishard-Pine noted that the issues affecting women within the Federation are felt across the Caribbean region.
“Much of what is happening in St. Kitts and Nevis happen across the region because of our dependence on tourism,” she said. Women’s roles are integral to the tourism industry across the Caribbean region.
“Combatting the effects of COVID-19 will require a collaborative and multi-layered approach to spreading awareness and creating a substantial support system for women.
“Pooling creativity will find a whole raft of solutions that we wouldn’t find if we just remained isolated and alone,” noted Professor Guishard-Pine. “We need to continue to raise awareness and create a dialogue across womankind in the Federation,” said Professor Guishard-Pine. “We must be aware of sisterhood, how we can support one another, and how we can understand each other’s pain. We can think together about creativity that exists beyond our job roles, beyond our existence as mothers and daughters.”
Mrs. Celia Christopher, Director of the Department of Gender Affairs, expressed the need for the ministries to work together to assist women impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“One of the ways to address the impact of COVID-19 on women is to have the key ministries working together to assist women,” said Mrs. Christopher. “We can work with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, and the Ministry of Labour so we can see how we can help them.”
She noted that although a stimulus package was given, women should continue to be supported until they are once again gainfully employed.