A Regional Gender Specialist Consultant has given Dominica high marks for being in the forefront in gender equity and equality.
Speaking at a one-day consultation at the Fort Young Hotel on Tuesday Dr. Rawwida Baksh, however said there are gaps in the island’s national policy for gender equality.
“I need to say in advance that the version you have before you is still full of gaps because we do need updated statistical information from a wide set of sources across the public sector, across the private sector, and from civil society organizations,” she said.
But she pointed out that Dominica needs to be commended for foresight in developing and its continued commitment towards advancing a gender policy which was launched in 2006.
“This puts Dominica at the forefront of national gender policy initiative in the Caribbean … being way ahead of many other Caribbean countries, some larger than Dominica for example my own country Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Suriname, and others,” she stated.
Baksh also mentioned that the gender sensitization was necessary to increase national awareness “with a view to understanding what kind of changes have taken place… as well as to hearing from the public what they saw as the burning issues that needs to be incorporated in the updated policy.”
Speaking at the same function Minister for Gender Affairs, Gloria Shillingford said the policy is being updated against the backdrop of international and regional mandate including the United Nation’s Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.
“The ministry recognizes the need for the updating of the policy with a view to accelerating its implementation,” she stated. “The main aim in this updating exercise, is to ensure that the updated policy take on board recent developments at the national level, current data, information and analysis; for example, the 2011 population census and new and emerging gender equality issues in the society.”
Director of the Bureau of Gender Affairs Rosie Browne, said a project proposal was submitted and funds were received from the United Women to assist in the implementating the national policy.
“In this regard, I am pleased to inform that with funding assistance from United Nation Women (Formerly before that UNIFEM) we were able to secure an amount of US$100,000 which provided for technical assistance under the project technical assistance, consultation, training, capacity building as well as public awareness and sensitization,” she revealed.
She said over the past several weeks and months the bureau has hosted a number of activities as it reviews the policy with the view of updating it.
The one-day consultation will seek to give an account of the process, which resulted in the upgrading of the national gender policy, an opportunity to contribute further, to discuss, to recommend, and to provide much needed information on data statistics.