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JIS News

The Bureau of Women’s Affairs in the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports (MICYS), will be making a shift to incorporate men’s issues, as part of its broader mandate of gender development.
This was noted by the new Executive Director, Faith Webster, in an interview with JIS News.
“Even though we are the Bureau of Women’s Affairs, we are now embarking on the process of developing our gender policy,” the Executive Director said.
“We will be working to mainstream gender in all our policies, programmes and plans and in that regard, it will enable us to look more closely at the issues as they relate to our women and men, as well as the relationship between women and men in the various sectors of society,” Mrs. Webster added.
For this initiative, the Bureau will be encouraging men and male Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs), to come on board and contribute to the enrichment and widening of the gender discourse.
“One of the things that we are looking at now at the Bureau, is encouraging our men to really come into discussions with us, in terms of the gender dialogue,” Mrs. Webster pointed out, while explaining that provisions are being made to set up a male desk at the Bureau, as well as to offer capacity building.
“We are looking to specifically establish a male desk here within the Bureau, where we can work particularly with men’s groups, so that the work of the organisation and the whole relationship between men and women can be disseminated, we can be informed, see what is happening on the ground and what should be the response for policy,” she said.
The Bureau’s new emphasis on gender and male issues in particular, is seen as an important development.
“It is important, because it is not just to promote women’s empowerment, but also we are seeking to promote gender equality,” the Executive Director told JIS News.
The Bureau has a mandate to act as a catalyst, to ensure that the Government addresses the problems that confront women, given the impact of patriarchy and sexism. The problems include high rates of un-employment and violence against women in various forms, such as spousal abuse, rape, incest and sexual harassment.