BRIDGETOWN, Barbados -- Regional trade policymakers are being urged to ensure that gender equality and gender mainstreaming is integral in their future foreign trade policies and national development strategies.
This advice from representatives of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) during day one of a four-day seminar, examining Gender Mainstreaming in Caribbean Trade Policies and Programmes. The CDB and ITC are co-hosting the seminar from June 16 – 19 at CDB headquarters in Barbados.
During the opening ceremony, Deidre Clarendon, officer-in-charge, projects department at CDB, said, " While significant progress has been made in the area of gender and gender equality, the post- 2015 agenda must further embrace gender equality to identify true growth."
Clarendon indicated that the Caribbean data still strongly link gender to poverty, market access and economic growth.
Barbados’ minister of industry, international business, commerce and small business development, Donville Inniss, who gave the keynote address, said, while gender equality and mainstreaming seem quite entrenched in Caribbean territories, there are some outstanding issues that need to be tackled, including domestic violence; areas where women earn less or are more dependent on men for economic survival and the lack of access to finance by women in the area of business and trade.
He also pointed out to the delegates that the region needs also to address the perceived or real crisis among the male population.
He said, "The statistics on men in education and men in society do not augur well for the gender mainstreaming agenda. Perhaps the voices of men are too silent on these issues”.
During the first day of talks, the seminar sought to define key terms including gender as a social phenomenon and the concepts of gender equality and gender mainstreaming.
Gender equality speaks to equal consideration given to the rights of and opportunities afforded both men and women. Gender equality guarantees that a person is not limited or discriminated against because of their sex.
Gender mainstreaming is the process of entrenching and integrating gender differences, needs, and perspectives into the full scope of any organization, policymaking and practical operations of any area of socio-economic life.
The workshop facilitators, ITC, also shared on the significance of gender analysis as well as monitoring and evaluation in the overall mainstreaming process. The participants were further exposed to effective approaches and best practices in gender analysis as these relate to the trade sector.
As day one came to a close, the initial discussions on conceptual frameworks were followed by practical case studies on gender equality and mainstreaming in trade policy and services sector in Jamaica and Suriname, presented by the respective country delegates.
Day two of the seminar will continue the focus on gender analysis as a critical component of ensuring gender mainstreaming in the development of national trade policies and entrepreneurship strategies primarily.