More Cuban women opting for self-employment

News from Cuba | Saturday, 24 December 2011

From the EFE News Agency

Cuba has seen an increase over the last two years in the number of women and workers of a higher educational level who have opted for self-employment, though the young seem uninterested, a recent survey shows.

A survey taken by the National Statistics Office, or ONE, between July and August concluded that those engaged in private businesses have doubled since 2009 when a similar study was made.

The results of the study were presented at a Dec. 16 Cabinet meeting chaired by President Raul Castro and were published Friday by the Communist Party daily Granma.

According to the ONE poll, the majority of the self-employed are between 40 and 49 or over 60.

At the same time the educational level of those in the sector has risen, as has the participation of women.

By the end of November there were 357,663 Cubans employed in the incipient private sector, and, according to official sources, the number has grown at an ever faster rate since the government expanded the scope for small business as part of its adjustments to "modernize" Cuba's socialist model.

It is estimated that 66 percent of those workers were previously without a job.

Castro's reforms mean a small, controlled opening for private enterprise, the "slimming down" of the inflated work forces in the state sector and the progressive elimination of subsidies and "unnecessary paternalism. " EFE

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