Examining Gender Stats to Promote Equality

The Ministry of Community Affairs, Gender and Housing, in partnership with the Economic and Statistics Office (ESO), has been working hard to identify gender gaps in the Cayman Islands and to use this information to promote gender equality.

Though Government has been able to see many improvements as a direct result of its human development work, comprehensive data on the different achievements and the realities of males and females have rarely been highlighted or easily accessible in a simple format. The Ministry and ESO now hope to change that.        

Extracting data from the 2010 Population and Housing Census, the Ministry, ESO, and Government Information Services (GIS), have created an informational brochure that illustrates their findings. The data can be used by the Government to develop and inform initiatives aimed at reducing inequalities, and they will also draw attention to the ways in which not only Government but the country as a whole ensures that a gender perspective is incorporated in the design of policies and programmes and that employment practices are equitable.

The Ministry’s Senior Policy Advisor for Gender Affairs, Tammy Ebanks, said she was very pleased with the brochure.

“The final product strikes a balance between visual appeal and clear presentation of important data. It really provides a concise and simple snapshot of the differences and similarities between men and women in the Cayman Islands, and I believe it will be of interest to the public,” Ms Ebanks commented. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the ESO and developing relationships with other entities that collect data on key social, political and economic indicators to gain a broader understanding of our society and how we can continue to improve the lives of our people by working towards closing the gender gaps.”

The statistics cover population, education, health, economic activity and home ownership and also break down the data to show differences among Caymanian and non-Caymanian males and females in many areas. Respective levels of education, the likelihood of having health insurance or chronic health conditions, average income and other information relevant to the people of these islands are all presented as engaging infographics. For ease of interpretation the data are also accompanied by explanatory text.

Elizabeth (Betty) Talbert, Deputy Director and Chief Statistician from the ESO recently presented the data at a regional CARICOM Research Seminar, where participants described the project as a ground-breaking model which should be followed by other countries within the region.

From the Ministry’s perspective the data further support the need for legislation such as the Gender Equality Law, 2011 which seeks to prevent discrimination in employment and related matters on the basis of sex, gender, marital status or pregnancy. The Law guarantees equal pay for men and women who perform work of equal value for their employers.

Minister for Community Affairs, Gender and Housing, Hon. Mike Adam states, “Previously only suspicions or anecdotal evidence suggested pay discrimination was an issue in the Cayman Islands, but the data from the 2010 Census that is highlighted in this brochure reflects that pay inequalities do indeed exist between women and men at all levels.” For example, the statistics show that in 2010, on average, females were paid almost 17% less than males and also earned less no matter what their educational level. There were also some very large income gaps by sex and occupation, with females in elementary occupations earning an average of 64¢ for every $1.00 that a male earned.

When it came to education, however, the data confirmed once again that females are accessing educations systems more than males. In 2010, a higher percentage of females were attending school for both full-time and part-time study, and females were also more likely to have an Associate’s Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree or higher. In 2010, 18.3% of females aged 15 years and older had passed no examinations, compared to 21.5% of males in the same age group. Regardless of the higher education acquired by females compared to males, this unfortunately did not translate in broad terms to equitable pay rates with their male counterparts.

Policy makers will be able to use these statistics to make critical policy decisions across a variety of subject areas that will work towards improving the identified gender gaps. The brochure is currently available online and hard copies will be produced in the very near future. Officials encourage the public to read the brochure and to learn more about their rights and obligations under the Gender Equality Law and other legislation that promotes non-discrimination.

For more information please read the full Gender Gaps booklet. Comparative data on the gender gaps in income and various occupations are also available utilising census data from 1989, 1999 and 2010.

If any person believes that he or she has been discriminated against contrary to the Gender Equality Law, he or she may file a complaint with the Gender Equality Tribunal. More information about the functions of the Tribunal and how to make a complaint is available on this website. Persons are also invited to contact the Secretary at get@gov.ky or 244-3226 with any questions.