Driving gender balance: Where would we be without our women?

Friday, March 08, 2019

Print this page Email A Friend!

This newspaper joins the world in observing Intern ational Women's Day (IWD) today and notes with some amount of pride and gratitude that our women have made significant contribution to the advancement of our beloved country.

Indeed, an informal survey would also reveal that Jamaican-born women, as well as women of Jamaican heritage, have, for decades, played major roles in some of the most important developments and events worldwide.

Who can forget Mrs Mary Jane Seacole, who in 1853 travelled to Crimea to offer her service as a nurse to soldiers dying from war wounds as well as cholera and dysentery in the war between Turkey and Russia?

Although, since then the road forward for women has been rocky, no one can deny that Jamaica has achieved some progress in fostering gender equality and the empowerment of women.

In fact, as we have noted in this space before, Jamaica can take some amount of pride — even with some understandable concern that men are falling behind in tertiary education — that an estimated 73 per cent of university graduates are women.

But even as we acknowledge that that achievement places Jamaica in a better position to realise the United Nations' call to action for driving gender balance across the world, we must agree with UN Secretary General António Guterres that women still face major obstacles in accessing and exercising power.

In his message to mark IWD, Mr Guterres stated that a World Bank survey has found that “just six economies give women and men equal legal rights in areas that affect their work. And if current trends continue, it will take 170 years to close the economic gender gap”.

Mr Guterres also told us that “in some countries, while homicide rates overall are decreasing, femicide rates are rising. In others we see a roll-back of legal protection against domestic violence or female genital mutilation”.

While, thankfully, female genital mutilation is not a factor in Jamaica, we have seen in recent months violent attacks on women which have given us cause to wonder about the mentality of the perpetrators of those assaults.

Readers will recall that just two days ago we made the point that the fact that some men still believe that they own women is a clear indication that this country has a lot more work to do ensure the effectiveness of the 2007 Strategic Action Plan to eliminate gender-based violence in Jamaica.

Jamaica's call to action on this International Women's Day, we believe, should include speeding up the implementation of programmes and policies that work to the greater benefit of the female population.

We share Secretary General Guterres' appeal “to redouble our efforts to protect and promote women's rights, dignity and leadership”.

We also applaud his commitment to making sure that women and girls can shape the policies, services and infrastructure that impact all our lives.

Indeed, as Mr Guterres said: “Let's support women and girls who are breaking down barriers to create a better world for everyone.”

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon