Inaugural ministerial forum to address gender equality, poverty, employment, other challenges
The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security launched its Inaugural Ministerial Forum on Gender Equality and Empowerment at the Marriott Hotel in Georgetown on Wednesday, tackling pressing issues such as poverty, employment, and gender-based violence.
Over the next three days, government officials, diplomats, and representatives from international organisations will convene to discuss and deliberate on the critical aspects of gender parity.
Minister Dr Vindhya Persaud opened the forum with a compelling call to action, emphasising the need for gender equality to be more than a mere expression.
“It is important for us to live it every day and not have it be something that seems elusive,” the minister underscored.
She highlighted the significance of addressing issues such as poverty, employment, and gender-based violence, while noting the importance of the Spotlight Initiative, which aims to combat violence against women.
Resident Coordinator of the United Nations (UN), Yesmin Oruc emphasised the critical role of gender equality in development, noting that it is a fundamental human right vital for spurring productivity and economic growth.
As the world falls off track in attaining gender equality, she expressed the UN’s readiness to support the efforts toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“I am proud on behalf of the United Nations to associate ourselves with your progress and stand ready to walk alongside you as you continue your journey towards the SDGs, especially the unfinished business of gender equality and the rights of women and girls,” she noted.
Similarly, Ambassador Rene Van Nes of the European Union stressed the EU’s commitment to gender equality and empowerment.
The EU’s action plan, he said, signals an urgent need for significant progress in these areas, while stressing the importance of ensuring that the voices of women and girls are heard.
Country Representative of the IDB, Lorena Solorzano Salazar, emphasised the significance of women’s equal participation in development projects.
She said the IDB believes in enhancing women’s skills and capacity, enabling them to access employment opportunities and contribute to the labour force.
Meanwhile, CARICOM’s Secretary-General, Dr. Carla Barnett called on leaders to pledge “to value our women recognising that their empowerment is tantamount to the enhancement of our societies as a whole. Moreover, our commitment to gender equality must extend beyond words and into concrete action by investing in women’s leadership, mentoring, and entrepreneurship. We can create a pipeline of change-makers who will contribute to shaping policies, driving innovation, and steering our societies towards progress.”
The forum aims to foster collaboration and share national models and best practices to achieve the 2030 Agenda, focusing on legislative frameworks, financing, gender-responsive strategies, and sustainable partnerships across the public, private, and international sectors.