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Institute for Gender and Development studies head Dr. Gabrielle Hosein left speaks with a police officer during the collaboration with Femintt, Youth Humanitarian foundation, Youth Advocacy Network (TTYAN) & UWI Guild, during the Call to Action in front of the parliament building, yesterday.

Advocating for an end to violence against women is important but the head of the Institute of Development and Gender Studies, Dr Gabrielle Hosein believes more should be done to empower women economically.

Speaking during an interview on CNC3’s The Morning Brew on Monday, Dr Hosein said research done during the pandemic shows that women are facing even more unemployment and vulnerability than ever before.

“If you speak to women who made a livelihood in food preparation, catering, those working in restaurants, daycares, stores, groceries, we will have seen an impact on women’s employment and livelihood,” she said.

She added, “Studies have shown that those women who were barely able to make it over the poverty line before COVID, are in an incredibly insecure situation now.”

Dr Hosein said while it was important to advocate for an end to violence, one must realize that the economic empowerment of women was extremely important in curbing vulnerability which can lead to violence.

“We at the Institute of Gender Studies did a small amount of research and we have found that unemployment among women has vastly increased, dependency on male support who may or may not have had a stable income has vastly increased. We have seen the return of traditional norms where the women now cannot work and they have to stay home because daycare has closed,” she added.

She noted that the high rates of female unemployment must be factored into policy development.

“The economy is a women’s issue. It is one of empowerment and their ability to mitigate against vulnerability to violence. The right to earning a livelihood,” Dr Hosein explained.

She said the killing of women was horrific and seems to be uppermost in everyone’s minds.

“We are in a crisis and a coalition of women organizations including the LGBT community have called for a walkout for women,” she added.

While these calls were important, Dr Hosein said there should be advocacy for economic policies. She noted that the current 30 per cent representation in Parliament was not enough, noting that it is only when more women enter Parliament that there will be more policies geared at improving the plight of women.