Manager of the Gender Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Social Protection, Adel Lilly, has implored members of the Gender Focal Point committee to intensify efforts in the fight for gender equality to quickly dismantle the harmful gender stereotypes.
The Gender Focal Point committee comprises of representatives from all ministries, along with representatives from various departments of the Ministry of Social Protection, who meet each quarter to facilitate and coordinate gender mainstreaming activities in their respective departments and ministries. The committee held its first meeting for the year yesterday in the boardroom of the Ministry of Social Protection’s Cornhill and Water Streets location.
Lilly explained to the members that, in 2015, women’s participation in the labour force was 50 percent as compared to 76 percent of men. He added that women entering the labour force are likely to go to lower paid occupations, thereby reinforcing the gender pay gap.
Therefore, these issues require high and immediate attention and must be addressed urgently, Lilly stressed.
“How do we ensure that women are entering the labour market on equitable terms and are paid the same amount for equal work within such setting? We ask your targeted, sharp, and concrete recommendations on how to address these issues. We need to do more as a committee. This committee must be the driving force of mainstreaming gender equality and take on a new approach in the fight for it,” the Gender Affairs Manager explained.
According to Lilly, discrimination based on sex is prohibited under almost every human rights treaty, including the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Additionally, there is also the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) which is considered the international bill of rights for women.
Gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls are part of the 2030 agenda and goals. Therefore, any improvement in these dimensions results in positive benefits of the other goals and targets, Lilly related.
“We as a ministry are committed to continuing to pursue policies and enforce legislation that seek to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. Women should no longer be viewed in the light of what women should do but rather who they are.”
During the meeting, members highlighted the need for the establishment of gender focal point committees in their respective ministries to help mainstream gender in all sectors of government.
Meanwhile, Deputy Programme Manager, Gender and Development, CARICOM Secretariat, Ann-Marie Williams, also conducted a capacity development session on CEDAW, during the meeting.
The members of the Gender Focal Point Committee are committed to raising awareness and understanding of the importance of gender mainstreaming and advocating for the inclusion of gender issues in project formulation.