IMF encourages Belize to take action to improve labour force participation among women

BELMOPAN, BELIZE — The International Monetary Fund is encouraging officials in Belize to make more of an effort to ensure equal labour force participation between men and women in the country.

“At 26.3 percentage points, Belize had one of the largest gaps in labour force participation rates between males and females in the region in 2023,” the IMF said in its Concluding Statement of the 2024 Article IV Mission to Belize.

jobs in Belize

One of the IMF's recommendations was better childcare support. (Photo by Igor Vetushko on DepositPhotos)

“Closing this gap could increase real GDP by over 20 percent in the long run.”

The IMF conducts annual country consultations to assess the economic progress made by nations around the world. It recently concluded its report on Belize after completing its consultation in that nation.

Belize, the IMF said, could benefit from implementing policies and programmes to help support working women. This could close the gap and lead to significant economic benefits in the long run, the report suggested.

“Enhancing female labour force participation and the quality of education would boost employment,” the IMF said.

While the organization noted that Belizean authorities have already launched a subsidized daycare and training program in the Cayo district, it suggested that the government take efforts a few steps further.

“Further expanding subsidized childcare and after-school programs as well as training for vulnerable households can significantly expand labour force participation, employment and output over the long term,” the IMF emphasized.

This is not the first time such initiatives have been recommended in the Caribbean region. The Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CAPRI) recommended similar programmes in Jamaica in an effort to improve productivity.

    Get the latest jobs sent directly to your inbox with Caribbean Employment’s Job Alerts

    Education needed to improve employability

    jobs in Belize

    Belize is also urged to prioritize education. (Photo by Yan Krukau on Pexels)

    In its report on Belize, the IMF also strongly encouraged Belizean authorities to prioritize education to improve employability among women.

    “Enhancing the quality of education is another priority,” the IMF said.

    “Belize spends more on education than its peers and has high primary school enrollment rates. However, secondary school enrollment rates and educational outcomes could be improved.”

    Similarly to the case with the daycare and training programme, the IMF noted that the Belizean government has already made strides in promoting education by:

    • Increasing the mandatory school age from 14 to 16
    • Eliminating copayments for vulnerable households to improve high school attendance
    • Working with the Millennium Challenge Corporation to train teachers and improve the quality of education

    “Additional priorities to improve educational outcomes include expanding conditional cash transfers to further promote school attendance, improving schools' curriculums, retraining teachers and expanding technical and "soft skill" vocational training programs,” the IMF said.

    Find the latest jobs in the Caribbean via Caribbean Employment Services Inc.

    Comments are closed.