JIS News

The Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, the Honourable Olivia Grange, MP, has hailed the contribution of Jamaican women to the development of the nation in a message for International Women’s Day and ahead of the official launch of 2010 as the Inter-American Year of Women in Jamaica tomorrow (Monday).
In her message, Minister Grange, who has responsibility for Women’s Affairs and Gender Issues, said:
“Each year on March 8, we mark International Women’s Day and celebrate the tremendous achievements of Jamaican women.
This year, we are also observing the Inter-American Year of Women and culminating the 35th anniversary celebrations of the Bureau of Women’s Affairs. In addition, we are celebrating at the international level, the 15th Anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action and thirty (30) years since the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was instituted.
There is much to celebrate. Jamaican women have contributed significantly to every area of national life, offering leadership in the health and education of families, in our classrooms, fields, factories, and increasingly in our boardrooms.
The theme that has been selected by the United Nations for International Women’s Day this year is “Equal rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all”. This theme is fitting as it seeks to promote gender equality. Indeed, history has shown that when women are empowered, the entire society benefits.
As a country, we have accomplished much in our strive for gender equality through the work of the Bureau of Women’s Affairs, the women’s NGOs, and other partners.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, I must make special mention of one of our partners in the process for gender equality and the advancement of women, Her Excellency the Most Honourable Lady Bustamante, the mother of our nation, who passed away last July. Today would have been her birthday. Lady Bustamante helped to tear down the walls that prevented women from achieving their potential and will continue to be an inspiration for women and men for generations to come.
The Government of Jamaica is committed to the achievement of gender equality and demonstrates this commitment through the development and implementation of policies that facilitate gender mainstreaming; gender sensitive and gender neutral legislation; gender-based research and public education.
We have developed the National Gender Policy, the Sexual Harassment Policy and the National HIV/AIDS Workplace Policy to ensure that women and men live in harmony and that the needs of each gender are met equally. We are actively reviewing legislation to make them gender sensitive and gender neutral.
Today Jamaica reaffirms its commitment to equality and advancement of women. Throughout this Inter-American Year of Women, I urge you to do your part to encourage the full participation of women in all aspects of national life.
The Bureau of Women’s Affairs has developed a programme of activities to commemorate Inter-American Year of Women and recognise the role and contributions of women in the society. I extend an invitation for partnership to all sectors of society. Let us work collaboratively towards achieving equal rights, equal opportunities and ultimately progress for all.
I am filled with hope that our daughters will live in a fairer world that encourages and provides opportunities for them to achieve their full potential.

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