Webster echoes Regional progress towards gender equality at UN Forum on women

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Jennifer Webster.
Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Jennifer Webster.

[www.inewsguyana.com] – “Guided by a people-centered approach to development, CARICOM Member States recognise the critical role of gender equality and empowerment of women to achieving poverty eradication, social integration and sustainable development.

“Our Governments have therefore accorded high priority to combating gender-based discrimination and promoting the advancement of women at the national, regional and international levels. Our Community has itself recorded significant progress toward achievement of the MDGs, with positive results for women and girls.”

This is according to Guyana’s Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Jennifer Webster, who was at the time delivering an address on “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls” on behalf of CARICOM member states to the 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women.

The meeting is being held at the United Nations Headquarters, New York. Guyana’s delegation is headed by Minister Webster and includes, Renata Chuck-A-Sang of the Women and Gender equality Commission, Vilma DeSilva, an indigenous people’s representative of the non-governmental organization – the Rural Woman’s Network; H.E. George Talbot, Guyana’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Dinte Conway of the Ministry’s Special Projects Unit.

The Minister highlighted achievements in the areas of girls’ participation and enrollment in education; and the sharp decline of HIV Incidence.

Webster further posited that as at 2011, “the Caribbean had achieved the sharpest decline in HIV incidence of any region, with 42% fewer HIV infections annually compared to 2001.” This decline is especially so for Mother to Child transmission of HIV.

Nevertheless, the Minister noted that in – spite of the successes, the region recognises that major challenges persist, including those relating to gender-based violence, adolescent pregnancy, the increased risk of the feminization of poverty, and the burden and threat of non-communicable diseases.

She noted that CARICOM is of the view that addressing the challenge of gender inequality requires a change of attitudes and approaches at multiple levels. In this regard, the role of men and boys and that of the family, as the fundamental unit of society, is crucial and should be strongly supported.

The Minister also reaffirmed CARICOM’s commitment to the acceleration of progress toward achievement of the MDGs and noted that “we are also committed to a transformative post-2015 agenda that takes full account of the needs and priorities of the region. Such an agenda must address the structural foundations of gender-based inequality and contribute to a better world for women and girls.”



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