Caribbean nations unite to address gender disparities

Day two of the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security’s Inaugural Ministerial Forum on Gender Equality and Empowerment was marked by fruitful presentations and discussions among Caribbean member states.

Government officials, regional delegates, and advocates convened on Thursday at the Marriott Hotel, Georgetown to share experiences, examine issues affecting gender equality, and discuss policy development aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindhya Persaud

The event highlighted the region’s commitment to mitigating gender disparities and promoting empowerment.

Minister, Dr Vindhya Persaud emphasised the crucial role of families in achieving gender equality.

“I believe it starts with families in the messaging we provide in our homes, how children are raised, and the change in messaging that depends on the education and information available to the current generation,” Dr Persaud stated.

The minister said Guyana’s commitment to a comprehensive gender and inclusion policy, is expected to guide the government’s actions for the next five to 10 years.

This policy will address contemporary challenges and include previously overlooked areas.

Ministerial Forum on Empowerment and Gender Equality

Additionally, Guyana is working on regulations to replace domestic violence legislation with a broader family violence framework, ensuring a more mandated and swift response to such issues.

Among the topics discussed were initiatives to combat gender-based violence. These include health education, police training, support for men and boys through forums to address issues related to masculinity and gender-based violence, counselling services, safe spaces, and support for those who have encountered legal issues.

Partnership with the private sector and the creation of a national gender focal point system to strengthen inter-ministerial gender equality efforts, and continued implementation of the spotlight initiative were also highlighted.

The Caribbean nations reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening mechanisms for women’s development, eradicating poverty, and promoting inclusive opportunities.

Ministerial Forum on Empowerment and Gender Equality

Special attention was also given to addressing the issue of teenage pregnancy, with the development of initiatives to support teen girls who dropped out of school.

Presentations were made by ministers and officials from Belize, Grenada, St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Barbados, St Vincent, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The three-day event is being held under the theme, “Shared Experiences Towards Developing Robust National and Regional Models for the 2030 SDG Agenda.”