Promoting gender equality and empowerment of women a CARICOM priority: GuyanaListen /
Caribbean history — from slavery to independence — bore ample testimony to the crucial role played by women in all aspects of development.
That's what Guyana's Representative Ambassador George Talbot, told the General Assembly's Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee at the start of its three-day discussion on the advancement of women.
Speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Talbot said that the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women command a place of prominence among the priorities of the Caribbean Community.
George Talbot: On the occasion of International Women's Day in 2012, the Secretary-General of CARICOM gave renewed expression to our Community's pride in the significant contribution of our women to the stability and development of the region and called for a recommitment of our collective efforts to foster equality, justice and peace for all. CARICOM takes this opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and to the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly. CARICOM States continue to strive for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals and objectives relative to gender equality and the empowerment of women particularly in the areas of poverty alleviation, the elimination of gender-based violence, mainstreaming a gender perspective in policies and programmes, enhancing education and training opportunities for women and girls, and increasing the participation of women in leadership and decision-making.
According to Ambassador Talbot, violence against women remains one of the critical social challenges of our time. He said it is estimated that globally, as many as 7 in 10 women experience some level of physical or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime.
George Talbot: Under this rubric, one problem area of particular salience within the CARICOM context, which is of great concern to our Governments, is that concerning domestic violence. We can all agree that violence against women has devastating effects on individuals and societies. It constrains achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, and results in high socio-economic costs. CARICOM therefore concurs with the Secretary-General's recommendations that more effective legal frameworks are needed to secure gender equality and protect women's human rights, and that all sectors of the community should be engaged to challenge gender stereotypes and social norms that perpetuate violence against women. Cognizant of the positive role of community activism in seeking solutions to the problems we face, CARICOM has undertaken several preventive initiatives at the regional level. On the occasion of International Women's Day, 8 March of this year, our Region launched a series of campaign materials on gender-based violence to promote positive attitudes and behaviours and a more gender sensitive community.
Ambassador Talbot said that at the national level, CARICOM Member States have enhanced legislative measures and developed monitoring frameworks to address gender-based violence.
This is Donn Bobb reporting.