The Full Story
Jamaica is guided by principles that gender equality is an intrinsic human right and the foundation of democracy, social justice, and good governance, says Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange.
In an address delivered by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, at the recent inaugural Gender Equality Awards, hosted by the High Commission of Canada at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston, Ms. Grange said the philosophies are aligned with Jamaica’s commitment to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
“It is more than a core objective, but an important instrument for achieving inclusive sustainable development, in keeping with the global call ‘Planet 50-50 by 2030; Step It Up for Gender Equality’,” the Minister said, adding that she was quite proud to lead the Jamaican Delegation to present the eighth Periodic CEDAW Report to the UN Committee in Geneva, Switzerland, on October 12, 2023.
“This is strategically aligned with Goal five of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and in keeping with our efforts to promote the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. This is also evidence of Jamaica’s commitment to the global movement for gender equality,” Ms. Grange said.
She underscored that at the centre of mainstreaming gender equality in national development plans, policies, programmes and related activities are the following – the mutually dependent roles of women and men and the understanding that one cannot be changed without affecting the other, and gender issues must be addressed across all sectors, as they are not only community-related but must also be addressed at the policy level as well as at the institutional/delivery system levels.
“Gender equality can be considered as the goal of socio-economic and political power sharing between men and women through equal access to all resources and institutions. This means creating an enabling environment in which women and men are free to develop their full potential and benefit equally from the country’s resources, in a non-discriminatory manner. It also means that adequate considerations are made for gender-differential needs of persons to be considered, valued, and favoured equally,” the Minister said.
Ms. Grange argued that issues such as male underperformance, youth violence, crime and violence are of “utmost concern” to the Government, and her Ministry has prioritised a targeted focus on boys and men, particularly those most exposed to violence, at greater risk of exhibiting poor health-seeking behaviour outcomes, and those who are disproportionately affected by unequal participation in the educational sector at all levels.
“With increasing awareness and concern around the social issues which affect men and boys in Jamaica, the Bureau of Gender Affairs, through the work of the Male Empowerment Unit, has implemented several male initiatives, programmes and strategies in keeping with its targeted focus on men and masculinity,” she said.
The awards covered 14 categories spanning key aspects of gender equality from education, Climate Change, and economic empowerment to gender-based violence prevention, diversity, and inclusion, ensuring that all characteristics of gender equality work are acknowledged and celebrated.