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Story Highlights

  • Senator Falconer says atrocities meted out to women and girls must be brought to an end.
  • Senator Falconer was speaking at a sensitization forum on ‘Caribbean Gender Equality and the Post – 2015 Agenda’.
  • The Minister said the country must be concerned about the lasting and negative effect of gender based violence and violence against women and girls.

Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, has emphasized that atrocities meted out to women and girls must be brought to an end.

“It is the only way we are going to move forward as a civilized and progressive society,” the Minister said.

Senator Falconer was speaking at a sensitization forum on ‘Caribbean Gender Equality and the Post – 2015 Agenda’,  held at the Montego Bay Civic Centre, Sam Sharpe Square, in St. James.

The Minister said the country must be concerned about the lasting and negative effect of gender based violence and violence against women and girls, and suggested that it is the violence within the society that continues to hinder women from achieving their full participation in all spheres.

She outlined a number of initiatives that the Government has implemented with a view to eradicating gender based violence.

These include: enactment of the Sexual Offences Act (2009), the Cybercrimes Act (2010), the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Suppression and Punishment Act (2007), the Child Pornography Act (2010); and adoption of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

“I am happy to report  that work is advanced  for a submission to be made to the Cabinet for the enactment of an Anti-Sexual Harassment legislation,”  Senator Falconer added.

The Minister said that decisions made at the regional and international levels must be applicable and relevant to the unique socio-economic development realities of Jamaica, and take into account the island’s gender equality concerns.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that our voices in these deliberations remain vibrant, strong and united,” she stressed.

The Minister noted that the Caribbean Joint Statement document to be discussed at the session addresses four broad areas, namely – Freedom from Violence; Accessing Capabilities; Economic Empowerment, and Leadership.

With particular reference to freedom from violence, Senator Falconer emphasized that preventing violence in the home and communities, and promoting a culture of peace and tolerance is the only sure way of achieving that goal.

Meanwhile, Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Glendon Harris, in bringing greetings, said that while the country has made progress in  promoting gender equality, continuous dialogue and action must be pursued to encourage equality and empowerment.

He argued that achieving gender equality will not only lend itself to poverty eradication, but also social improvements, especially in the areas of access to health and education.

More than 100 representatives from several women’s groups, civil society, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) turned out for the second sensitization session.

The first was held in December 2013 at the Jamaica Conference Centre, in Kingston, with representatives from Kingston and St. Andrew, and several southern parishes participating, while delegates from St. Mary, St. Ann, Trelawny, St. James, Hanover, Westmoreland and St. Elizabeth attended the Montego Bay forum.