Jamaica Making Progress On Gender Equality


Jamaica is making progress in terms of gender equality and the elimination of discrimination against women, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, has said.
Miss Grange, who has responsibility for Women’s Affairs and Gender Issues, was speaking after updating Cabinet on the contents of Jamaica’s Combined Sixth and Seventh Periodic Report Under the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
The report which was prepared by the Bureau of Women’s Affairs – a Department of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture – in collaboration with other Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies as well as selected organisations, covers the period from January 2003 to September 2009.
Under the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Government of Jamaica is required to report periodically on the policies, programmes and plans implemented, as well as actions taken toward eliminating discrimination against women and girls.
The report concludes that “Jamaica has made progress in relation to the status and condition of women in the country [as a result of] legal reforms, public education, policies, programmes and activities carried out during the period.”
Among the highlights are the development of policies and legislation including:
– The Child Care and Protection Act to strengthen to legal framework for care and protection of children;
– Amendments to the Domestic Violence Act to make provision for married women, women in common-law and visiting relationships and a third person to apply for occupation and/or protection orders in cases of domestic abuse;
– The Property (Rights of Spouses) Act to provide for equitable division of family property in the event of a breakdown of marriage or common-law relationship;
– Amendments to the Maintenance Act to confer obligations on spouses to maintain each other, parents to maintain their children, and adult children to maintain their parents in special cases;
– The Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Suppression and Punishment) Act to give protection to victims of trafficking (who are mainly women and girls);
– The Sexual Offences Bill which covers all forms of sexual offences and is intended to change long held perceptions/assumptions about rape;
– The Child Pornography (Prevention) Bill to make the commercial sexual exploitation of children a criminal offence.

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