Female labour force participation: The case of Trinidad and Tobago
KAREN A. ROOPNARINE AND DINDIAL RAMRATTAN, CENTRAL BANK OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Abstract: An examination of national surveys such as the Survey of Living Conditions (SLC) and the Household Budget Survey (HBS) has revealed a gender disparity in regards to the level of poverty in Trinidad and Tobago. According to the SLC 2005 statistics, there is a higher incidence of poverty among women when compared to men in Trinidad and Tobago. One possible reason for the higher level of poverty among women is the corresponding lower labour force participation rate of women when compared to men. This study sought to identify factors which influence the ability or desire of a woman to join the labour force. A probit model utilising variables such as education, age and earnings was used to estimate the probability of participation. Additionally, the influence of qualitative factors specific to the Trinidad and Tobago economy, such as ethnicity and religion, were considered. A synopsis of the results shows that the level of schooling, age, being the head of the household and being single, all have positive influences on female participation. On the contrary, the presence of children in the household, accessing social security programmes, and chronic illness have negative effects on participation. The results of this research can serve as a useful tool for more gender-sensitive policy formulation in Trinidad and Tobago, and even the wider Caribbean region.
Keywords: Labour force participation rate; female labour force; Trinidad and Tobago; poverty