JIS News

In observance of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Bureau of Women’s Affairs will be hosting a series of activities under the theme: ‘Women and Men Speak Out…End the Violence against Women’.
Speaking with JIS News, Acting Executive Director of the Bureau, Faith Webster, noted that while the day will be observed on November 25, the organization will be conducting a 16-day campaign highlighting the issue of gender-based violence.
“We will begin on November 24 and end on December 10 taking into consideration World AIDS Day, which is on December 1 and Human Rights Day on December 10, where we will be looking at the whole issue of human rights,” she explained.
“We try to ensure as much as possible that we are not just presenting the issue of gender-based violence in isolation but we are looking at it in terms of the linkages of sexual abuse and the effect of HIV/AIDS on our women and girls,” she continued.
According to Mrs. Webster, throughout the period, the Bureau will be seeking to raise the awareness of women and children about gender-based violence as well as strengthen local initiatives that are geared at preventing and eliminating violence against women.
On Saturday, November 24, the Bureau will be hosting a training and public education session on gender-based violence at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston starting at 9:00 a.m. The session will be targeting some 40 guidance counsellors from a cross section of primary and high schools in Kingston and St. Andrew.
“We will be having an in-depth look at what is taking place in our schools including some of the challenges and steps that can be implemented to address these issues,” Mrs. Webster explained.
A national church service is schedule to take place on Sunday, November 25 at the Webster Memorial United Church commencing at 9:45 a.m. where Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports with responsibility for Women and Gender Affairs, Olivia Grange will bring greetings.
On November 27, the Women’s Bureau will be distributing the symbolic purple ribbons at Gordon House to sensitize parliamentarians about the issue of violence against women and children. “Ribbons will also be distributed to members of the public throughout the period so that when they wear them they will be cognizant of the issue that we are trying to highlight,” she added.
Additionally, Minister Grange, will be issuing a statement on the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women in Parliament.
A stakeholders’ dialogue is slated for Wednesday, November 28 at the Terra Nova Hotel commencing at 9:00 a.m. where the National Gender Policy will be formally handed over to Minister Grange.
“After the opening ceremony, we will be engaged in a detailed discussion on the issue of sexual abuse and how we can make our cities safer for women and children,” she indicated.
The Bureau of Women’s Affairs was set up in 1975 to act as a catalyst to ensure that government addresses the problems that confront women, given the impact of patriarchy and sexism. The problems include high rates of unemployment, violence against women in various forms such as spousal abuse, rape, incest and sexual harassment.

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