Vasciannie reassures OAS of Ja's commitment to gender equality
AMBASSADOR Stephen Vasciannie has assured the Organisation of American States (OAS) of Jamaica's commitment to gender equality, pointing to legislative and political developments on the island to enhance his point.
Vasciannie, Jamaica's top diplomat in the United States, reiterated his country's position in a statement given at an OAS public session commemorating International Women's Day.
"There is more to be done, but ... we mark the progress of women and recommit ourselves to further efforts on the march to full equality," said Vasciannie, who also serves as Jamaica's permanent representative to the OAS.
He pointed out that in Jamaica several significant offices of state are now held by women. "These include the prime minister, four Cabinet ministers, the chief justice, the director of public prosecutions, the solicitor general, the mayor of Kingston, a number of senior civil servants, and several senior members of our much-respected and independent judiciary."
In addition, Vasciannie noted, "Hundreds of professionals and many leading athletes and entertainers also serve as testimony to the major contribution of women to social, economic and political development of the country."
Emphasising further that the advancement of women was a sine qua non for national development, Vasciannie called on the OAS to ensure that its resolutions, plans and programmes are permeated with the goal of gender equality.
Ambassador Vasciannie also commended the Inter-American Commission of Women for its work in promoting gender equality. He reported further that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms now expressly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, while the Government of Jamaica recently introduced initiatives against gender-based violence and in favour of reintegrating adolescent mothers into the formal school system.