Youth, Sports and Culture Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, has launched the National Policy for Gender Equality (NPGE), and the Way Out Project.
The launch, which formed part of activities commemorating International Women’s Day, as well as the centenary of the Day, was held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, on March 8. It was jointly organised by the Ministry and the Bureau of Women’s Affairs (BWA).
The NPGE is aimed at gender mainstreaming in national development, thereby enabling men and women to contribute equally to the country’s growth, while having equitable access to the protection and privileges of Jamaican citizenship.
The Government, through the BWA, is the recipient of a policy implementation grant from United Nations Empowerment of Women (UNWOMEN), through its Fund for Gender Equality, to implement the Jamaican Women’s Political and Empowerment Project (Way Out Project), in collaboration with the Disputes Resolution Foundation.
This is a 32-month initiative, which aims to facilitate an increase in the economic and political status of women and girls.
In her address, Miss Grange, who also has responsibility for gender and women’s affairs, pointed out that the Way Out project will provide leadership training and development for women, in order to increase their capacity and knowledge, as well as encourage participation in the “decision-making spheres” of the society.
The Minister informed that stakeholders at all levels of the public sector will be trained in gender mainstreaming; the collection of sex disaggregated data; gender responsive budgeting; and gender responsive planning and mediation.
“The project will also target key entities in the private sector to promote gender awareness and train persons in those entities to implement gender mainstreaming as a tool. That will be in non-governmental organisations; faith-based organisations; community-based organisations; political organisations; labour unions; and other agencies,” Miss Grange outlined, while informing that Reggae recording artiste and performer, Cherine Anderson, has been designated spokesperson for the initiative.
In her remarks, Executive Director of the BWA, Faith Webster, underscored the importance of teaching and instilling values in the nation’s young women and girls, as well as enlightening them on the history of the country’s distinguished women who lobbied and advocated for their socio-economic, cultural and political upliftment.
She also cited the significance of creating greater awareness of, and appreciation for legislations on women’s rights, inclusive of: the Maternity Leave Act (1979); the Domestic Violence Act (1995); and the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act.
“These pieces of legislation did not just fall from the sky, nor were they handed to us on a platter. It took, not only guts, but also blood, sweat and tears to achieve these rights. This is why we cannot afford to lose the gains, and some of these gains have been quite significant,” Ms. Webster stressed.
Chief Executive Officer of the Disputes Resolution Foundation, Donna Parchment Brown, in welcoming the partnership with the BWA, said Jamaica’s women are committed to building on the gains the society has made in advancing the welfare of women.
“Today, we recognise how far we have come as a nation, and as a global village, in respecting and valuing our women. We commit to you, all the tools at our disposal to honour our duty… to manifest, through gender mainstreaming, as enabled by the recently passed NPGE, to use that as a platform for our motto: ‘Out of Many, One People’, to convert it into, ‘Out of Many, One Equal People’,” Mrs. Parchment Brown assured.
CONTACT: DOUGLAS McINTOSH