The Commonwealth Secretariat in collaboration with the Bureau of Women’s Affairs is hosting the Second Capacity Building Workshop on Gender, Trade Policy and Export Promotion for the Caribbean Region from January 23-27 at Shaw Park Beach Hotel and Suites in St. Ann.
The five-day event is being spearheaded at the Commonwealth Secretariat level by the Gender Section of the Social Transformation Programmes Division, and is in keeping with the Bureau of Women’s Affairs’ mandate to bring gender into the mainstream throughout its programmes, policies and plans. Faith Webster, Acting Executive Director of the Bureau of Women’s Affairs explained to JIS News that, “the whole idea of mainstreaming is to integrate a gender perspective into the various socio-economic issues that affect us. The workshop is in keeping with our programme objectives to educate and sensitize our public officials and policymakers to the whole issue of gender”.
Ms. Webster said that the workshop would serve to outline gender and trade policy as it related to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and services. The purpose of the workshop is to build capacity to integrate gender analysis in trade policy formulation and implementation; to analyze the impact of trade policy on women’s employment and entrepreneurship; to focus on region specific issues and trends and their impact on women; and to build capacity of public and private institutions to enable women to respond to changes in trade policy.
According to Ms. Webster, there will be participants from four countries namely Barbados, Guyana, St. Lucia and host, Jamaica. Each country will be represented by a team comprised of policy makers from relevant ministries and organizations and women’s networks. In addition, there will be representatives from the regional trade organizations like CARICOM and the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA). Ms. Webster noted, “the core team of facilitators for the workshop includes three consultants, Mariama Williams, Jacqui McDonald, Dorienne Rowan-Campbell and Sarojini Ganju Thakur, Chief Programme Officer, Gender Section of the Commonwealth Secretariat.”
Some of the topics to be discussed include Gender, Trade and Development; Policy and Analytical Tools for Trade Policy and Export Promotion; the Trade Policy Environment and Gender and Agricultural Liberalization. In addition, different case studies from the various regions will be highlighted.
Ms. Webster clarified that the workshop discussions will not only be centered on the Jamaican situation, but would explore trade and ICT issues as they occurred in other territories. In order to move from analysis to action and to embed and build capacities in various regions to address trade policy-related issues, the Commonwealth Secretariat is seeking to systematically institutionalize and mainstream gender and trade in relevant institutions/organizations at regional and national levels in the Commonwealth countries. As a first step in this process, the Secretariat has started to develop generic training modules on gender and trade. It is against this background that the first regional workshop was held in East Africa, which covered Kenya, Uganda and will cover the Caribbean region.