As part of the celebration of International Women’s Day this Wednesday, March 8, 2017, the United Nations invites us to reflect in particular on the situation of our daughters and women in Haiti whose main challenges are: education, Employment, health and lack of representation in institutions.
57% of the Haitian population is under the age of 24 (6.2 out of 10.9 million) and this feature has great potential for development and economic growth if young people (including girls) have access to education, health services, including sexual and reproductive health, and employment opportunities. However, investing in the rights of girls to enable them to receive a good education and to plan their families as they wish is essential to take advantage of this growth potential and to enable the State to facilitate basic services to the population.
In addition, low levels of education affect women predominantly and are one of the factors explaining their early and unskilled entry into the labor market. Thus, the United Nations also encourages Haiti’s efforts to advance equality of access for women and the integration of gender equality and the transformation of stereotypes in formal and non-formal education by introducing gender equality into the curriculum, in the textbooks and teacher training. In primary and secondary education there has been a gender parity since 2000. At the secondary level girls’ schooling also exceeds that of boys. However, inequality becomes more evident for those with higher education (6.1% for women aged 35-39 and 11.8% for men).
Precarious employment is one of the factors contributing to the feminization of poverty in Haiti, since women receive lower wages than men, work more in the informal sector without social security ( 55.9%) and are less represented in formal employment (30%). It is crucial to promote the sharing of responsibilities in the household and the family and to valorize unpaid domestic work.
In term of health, in Haiti, the proportion of women whose birth has been attended by skilled health personnel has increased since 2006 (from 24.2% in 2000 to 37.3% in 2013). Nevertheless, almost two-thirds of childbirths still occur without skilled assistance (especially in rural areas) and the maternal mortality rate was among the highest in the Latin American and Caribbean region, with 157 per 100,000 in 2013. This situation is also linked to reproductive health. Even though 99% of Haitians are aware of modern contraception, its use has only increased from 22% in 2000 to 31% in 2012. For Haiti’s economic growth and development it is very important that every girl has the right to control her body and future. A pregnancy by choice and not by chance. Today, in Haiti, 11% of adolescents (under the age of 19) have had at least one child.
The United Nations is supporting Haiti in reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, s well as access to ownership and control of land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources. In Haiti, 71 per cent of women have neither land nor homes; 20% own property jointly and only 9% own.
Representation in institutions :
Finally, the United Nations in Haiti also welcomes the ratification of international legal instruments in favor of gender equality, such as the CEDAW Convention and encourages the implementation of the legislative provisions already initiated by the parliament and the government of Haiti, including “The Paternity, Maternity and Parentage Law”, “The Domestic Work Conditions Act”, the “Framework Bill on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women and girls” and the minimum gender quota of 30% in Parliament under the 1987 Constitution. Today, Haiti has only 4 women in both chambers (1 woman in the Senate out of a total of 30 senators and 3 women in the Chamber of Deputies out of a total of 119 deputies).
Source: Haiti Libre