CARICOM countries recommit to ensure rural women are not left behind- Minister Ally at UN
DPI, Guyana, Monday, March 12, 2018
“CARICOM continues to strive to alleviate the situation of rural women in our Region. Our Governments continue to work tirelessly to address inequalities at the grassroots levels in the process of realizing economic growth, addressing income disparities and alleviating poverty. We take this opportunity to recommit our efforts to work with all stakeholders to ensure that the rural women of our region as supported by the 2030 Agenda, are not left behind.” – Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally addressing the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations (UN) in New York, today.
Minister Ally was representing the fourteen-member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) at the two-day conference that runs from on March 12 -13, under the theme “The challenges and empowerment of rural women.”
Minister Ally noted that the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women has been a central priority for CARICOM States; as such, the countries have individually and collectively, undertaken various initiatives to enhance the status of women in the Region. These initiatives have been formulated using instruments such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Alluding to the Caribbean Human Development 2016 Report, Minister Ally noted that women show higher access to, and performance in, secondary and tertiary education than men, thereby reducing gender gaps in labour markets and mitigating the earning gaps with men. In the area of health, she cited the 2015 World Health Statistics that report there has been an improvement in maternal health, as a high proportion of women now have access to ante-natal facilities with skilled personnel.
According to Minister Ally, the in Latin America and the Caribbean, 43.3 percent of the total rural population is composed of women living in income poverty, whose principal economic activity is usually agricultural. This, she said places greater responsibility on CARICOM Governments to ensure that the particular needs of rural women are integrated into national development plans and budgetary allocations.
In 2012, rural women accounted for a large proportion of the agricultural labour force in the Caribbean. The Minister explained that in countries such as Jamaica and Guyana with large agricultural bases, efforts to meet the challenges faced by many rural women are realized by micro-credit programmes, that offer grants to establish small projects.
“The Caribbean Rural Network of Women Producers, with chapters in seven Caribbean countries, promotes strong business models for rural women who use locally sourced materials, low-energy and sustainable production processes and traditional methods for their economic empowerment and broader national development. In Belize, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Guyana, indigenous women play a fundamental role in sharing knowledge, including the historical memory of villages and technical expertise such as agro-ecological management, seed selection, plant reproduction and medicinal uses of herbs,” Minister Ally said.
Meanwhile, on the issue of the human trafficking and illegal migration, the Social Protection Minister explained that according to ECLAC, trafficking of women in the Caribbean has increased, and is associated with illegal migration. These women and girls are at risk of becoming victims of international criminal networks and of sexual exploitation in the tourism, logging and mining industries. Several of the CARICOM member states have led the way and enacted specific legislation against trafficking in persons.
A recent achievement for the Caribbean has been the elevation of Guyana from a Tier 2 to a Tier 1 country in the US Department of State’s 2017 Annual Trafficking in Persons Report. Guyana now joins the Bahamas in meeting the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s minimum standards.
The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. A functional commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), it was established by Council resolution 11(II) of 21 June 1946.
The CSW is instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.
By: Synieka Thorne