- Each year on March 8, countries across the world commemorate International Women’s Day (IWD)
- I wish to highlight the work of the Bureau of Women’s Affairs (BWA), as the National Machinery on Women and Gender.
- As Minister with responsibility for Gender Affairs, I wish to use this opportunity to also recognize and pay tribute to Lady Bustamante, one of the pioneers who led the way in promoting women’s rights and whose birthday is being commemorated on March 8.
Each year on March 8, countries across the world commemorate International Women’s Day (IWD). It is used as a time to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women and advocate for the empowerment of marginalized women. The 2016 United Nations (UN) theme for IWD is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”.
Through the theme, the United Nations invites us to reflect on how to accelerate the 2030 Agenda and build momentum for the effective implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Focus is also placed on new and existing commitments on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s rights towards the achievement of gender equality.
The local theme, ‘Promoting Partnership towards Gender Equality and Sustainable Development’ highlights the importance of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals such as ending poverty and hunger as well as gender equality and empowerment for women and girls. It points to the need for continued partnerships across all sectors in Jamaica. In this regard, each person, family, community, group, as well as the various providers of social services have a pivotal role to play.
I wish to highlight the work of the Bureau of Women’s Affairs (BWA), as the National Machinery on Women and Gender. Through its gender mainstreaming programme, the BWA continues to sensitize and train multiple stakeholders to mainstream gender in all national policies, plans, programmes and projects. This is designed to enable women and men to benefit equally from the country’s resources.
To date, twenty-seven (27) Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government have received the Gender Equality Certification Stamp. This signals their commitment to the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment in keeping with the guiding principles of the National Policy for Gender Equality.
The BWA has increased the focus on community based-outreach to provide strategies to treat with some of the many issues which women face. This is achieved through community activities, public education, training, sensitization and first level interventions. We also maintain partnership with other government and non-governmental organizations to highlight and empower Jamaican women.
Work continues to be done in communities towards the achievement of gender equality. Women’s groups receive technical support from the Government of Jamaica to help to maximize the resources available and to access information to develop expertise in specific areas.
We are well aware that gender equality and sustainable development cannot be achieved in one day. As we pause to observe International Women’s Day, we wish to issue a challenge to all sectors, groups and organisations to engage in partnerships with the Bureau of Women’s Affairs towards the achievement of the sustainable development goals. I wish to highlight Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which is the transformative stand alone goal designed to facilitate the empowerment of women and girls towards the achievement of gender equality.
As Minister with responsibility for Gender Affairs, I wish to use this opportunity to also recognize and pay tribute to Lady Bustamante, one of the pioneers who led the way in promoting women’s rights and whose birthday is being commemorated on March 8. Let me acknowledge too, the appointment of four (4) women to the Cabinet, Jamaica’s second female Attorney General, the Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte, as well as a notable increase in the number of female Members of Parliament.