Gov’t Taking Action to Address Gender-Based Violence

Photo: Rudranath Fraser Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange (centre), listens to a comment from Executive Vice-President, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Julie Katzman (right), during a gender forum organised by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) at the University of the West Indies Regional Headquarters on September 6. At left is General Manager for the Caribbean Country Department, IDB, Therese Turner-Jones.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, says the Government is taking strategic action to address gender-based violence, inequality and discrimination in the country.
  • She cited among other things, Cabinet’s approval of the National Strategic Action Plan to Eliminate Gender-based Violence, legislative initiatives to deal with sexual harassment, and issuing Gender Equality Certification and Seals to ministries, agencies and departments (MDA).
  • Minister Grange said that every Jamaican has a role to play in advancing gender equality.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, says the Government is taking strategic action to address gender-based violence, inequality and discrimination in the country.

She cited among other things, Cabinet’s approval of the National Strategic Action Plan to Eliminate Gender-based Violence, legislative initiatives to deal with sexual harassment, and issuing Gender Equality Certification and Seals to ministries, agencies and departments (MDA).

She explained that the National Strategic Action Plan sets out a 10-year programme to be implemented across government, with specific targets towards eliminating gender-related violence.

She said implementation of the plan mandates an islandwide public education campaign in the first phase to facilitate widespread awareness and sensitisation, and sustained and targeted support and response through intervention management.

“The success of the National Strategic Action Plan to eliminate Gender-based Violence will depend on partnerships… partnerships across government, with other governments, with international agencies, with the private sector and with every woman and man in Jamaica, and in the Jamaican diaspora,” she noted.

Minister Grange was addressing a gender forum organised by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Regional Headquarters on September 6.

Turning to legislative measures, Ms. Grange said the Government is determined to make the Sexual Harassment Act a reality in order to provide greater protection for victims.

“We know that at this moment, a woman or a man is working in a toxic environment and is facing the most harmful effects of sexual harassment. Some women and men are sexually harassed, even walking on the street. We are pursuing legislative initiatives to deal with this crime. It is a very serious matter that we’re moving to address,” she said.

As it relates to the Gender Equality Certification Seal, Ms. Grange noted that 27 MDAs have received certification for creating equitable conditions for men and women and establishing environments where women’s work and contributions are equally valued.

Meanwhile, the Minister said the Government is committed to growing the economy and creating real jobs, which will improve the lives of every single Jamaican man, woman and child.

She pointed out that gender equality requires equal enjoyment by women and men of the socially valued goods, opportunities, resources and rewards, including economic participation.

Minister Grange said that every Jamaican has a role to play in advancing gender equality.

“Each of us can do something to promote the empowerment of women and men. Each of us can help to improve lives,” she contended.

For her part, General Manager for the Caribbean Country Department, IDB, Therese Turner-Jones said the agency is fully committed to gender equality, “because this is the key to driving markets that thrive, businesses that succeed, communities that rise, and people that achieve their full potential”.

She said bridging the gender gap has been a strategic priority for the IDB group. “During the three-year period 2014 to 2016, 41 per cent of our operations in the public sector incorporated a gender component in their design, a nearly double increase over the previous three-year period.”

In her remarks, former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, pointed to the need for deliberate and sustained measures to address gender inequality.

“Let us commit ourselves to make the changes that are still needed at the social, economic, political and decision-making levels, and let us work together as national, regional and international partners to ensure that equal rights of men and women are achieved by 2030,” she said.

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