The Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs, Family and Gender Affairs is holding a two-day consultative workshop to sensitize various organisations on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and Beijing+25 reporting.
The workshop is being held on the 15th and 16th of April and aims to strengthen technical capacity among government partners, CEDAW and Beijing+25 reporting.
CEDAW is also an international human rights treaty that focuses specifically on equality between women and men in all areas of life.
National Human Rights Officer in the United Nations office-Barbados, Michelle Braithwaite said she is delighted that Dominica is working on its CEDAW report and hopes to have a productive workshop.
“The nature of what we are going to do for the next two days is hopefully going to build capacity among government officials, to better understand human rights processes. And then we take a specific look at CEDAW both generally speaking and in the Dominica context,” she said.
“Hopefully, we will have productive conversations about culture, gender, legislation, policy and how Dominica sees itself moving forward with its gender agenda,” she continued. “Human rights reporting is about a country making its own assessment of how well it is doing with its own human rights agenda by going through its reporting process as a necessary stock taking of where things stand.”
She added that when the report is submitted independent experts can give Dominica some guidance on how to move forward in better implementing its gender agenda.
Permanent secretary for the ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs, Family and Gender Affairs, Helen Royer said this convention is a way forward towards gender equality in Dominica.
“The Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs, Family and Gender Affairs through the Bureau of gender affairs, wishes to compile and submit the relevant reports in order to fulfill Dominica’s obligation under the convention and also it is practically important as a tool that guides us towards the achievement of gender equality and has proven invaluable in opposing the effects of discrimination,” Royer stated. “The CEDAW and Beijing reports will speak to Dominica’s progress as a nation towards the achievement of gender equality.”
She pointed to the noteworthy accomplishments that had been achieved over the past years.
“Women now hold prominent positions at the highest level of decision making in the public service; 84.6% are permanent secretaries. The Sexual Offenses Act was amended in 2016 to include harsher sentences for perpetrators of sexual violence and introduction of mandatory reporting for suspected abuse of minors,” Royer stated.
She added, “More specifically, a year ago, we finished up the social mobilization campaign against gender-based violence funded by the UN women. Through this project, significant steps have been made sensitizing the public on gender issues, supporting victims and advocates in countering the negative impact of gender-based violence, especially domestic violence and securing increasing allies in the fight for gender equality.”
She said recommendations received from this workshop will be submitted to the Minister and Cabinet.
The government rectified CEDAW in 1981 and has made significant progress in eliminating major forms of discrimination against women, Royer said.