JIS News

Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Olivia Grange, is calling on Jamaicans to join forces in the fight against gender-based violence and other obstacles that encumber the pursuit of gender equality and development.
The call was made at the launch of the Planning Institute of Jamaica and the United Nations Population Fund (PIOJ/UNFPA) 2008 World Population Report, at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus yesterday, (November 12).
Reading from the Minister’s prepared speech, Acting Research Coordinator at the Bureau of Women’s Affairs, Sharon Robinson, stated that, “let us as a nation challenge all harmful cultural practices and strengthen the ones that are beneficial; let us strive to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls and ensure increased involvement of men in the gender agenda. With this achieved, we would have made great progress in human rights, which is the common ground we all aspire to reach”.
The 2008 State of the World Population Report, provides a global perspective on the issue of Culture, Gender and Human Rights and shows how culture can be integrated into development policy and programming. It calls for culturally sensitive approaches to development because they are essential to human rights in general and women’s rights in particular.
On the issue of women’s rights, the Minister’s speech stressed that the recent attacks on the nation’s women and girls is also a blatant attack on the country’s human rights.
“The recent scourge of abduction of our women and girls is a deliberate attack on human rights. As a country we have made many strides towards the achievement of women’s empowerment and gender equality, especially in education,” she noted.
“However, the report highlights the fact that advances in gender equality have never come without cultural struggles. These abductions and other forms of violence against women need to be eliminated to ensure that we continue to make positive strides towards gender equality and the empowerment of our women,” she continued.
The Minister who helped establish a men’s desk at the Bureau of Women’s Affairs, also reiterated her position that if Jamaica is to achieve true gender equality, then the inclusion of men is essential, as they can make an invaluable contribution.
“Progress in gender equality cannot be attained without the full involvement of our boys and men. In this regard the Report implores societies to involve men in the design, implementation and delivery of gender-sensitive programmes. It further states that paying close attention to men’s experiences of gender and its inequalities can help overcome male resistance. In Jamaica, for this to become a reality more men need to be partners in the ongoing advocacy for gender equality,” the Minister remarked.
The launch of the 2008 World Population Report, concluded with a panel discussion and town hall meeting, which featured eminent researchers, Head of the Centre of Gender and Development Studies, Dr. Leith Dunn; Lecturer at the Institute of Caribbean Studies, Dr. Donna Hope; Lecturer at the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC), Dr. Robert Carr; and Manager of the Social Development and Gender Unit at the PIOJ, Ms. Taitu Heron.
Presentations were made examining culture from a Jamaican perspective on: 1) Gender and the Human Rights Framework; 2) Masculinity/Femininity, Dancehall and Human Rights; 3) Culture and Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, and 4) Integrating Culture into Development Policy and Planning.