Move towards gender equality ‘unacceptably slow’

Marie Legault - High Commissioner of Canada to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean

by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • Progress towards meeting the SDG for women and girls is ‘unacceptably slow’
  • Canada Fund for Local Initiatives addressed social issues of gender equality and empowerment of women and girls, and violence against women and children
  • GNOW partners with Ministry of Social Development to commemorate International Women’s Day on 8 March.

A recent monitoring report from UN Women warned that the progress towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals for women and girls is ‘unacceptably slow.’ There was also a call for emphasis to be placed on unpaid care work and ending violence against women. The UN Women monitoring report assesses progress towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, specifically looking at efforts to achieve gender equality.

High Commissioner of Canada to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Marie Legault spoke with NOW Grenada on how the region can ensure fast-tracking the idea of gender equality. She said although great strides have been made in that regard, the world is still not moving fast enough to achieving gender equality.

“The world is not moving fast enough on this. We need to make sure that everybody is involved including women, so we can all grow together. Canada is definitely a strong champion of this. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is feminist; we have a feminist government actually. We are putting together a lot of initiatives and investment, and we demonstrate what we do, for instance, the Impact Justice Project. We are doing a number of initiatives in the Jurist Programme, which is another programme in the region. We are putting together guidelines for sexual offences in the courts, and it will have a big impact on young women and children.”

Legault said large expenditure had been pumped into countries from around the world to help promote the cause. “Last June we announced our first feminist international assistance policy which puts all our investment around the world of about CAD$5 billion, geared towards women and equality.”

Last year the Government of Canada made available CAD$80,000 to be used in a number of projects in Grenada to address social issues of gender equality and empowerment of women and girls, and violence against women and children through the programme Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI).

The Grenada National Organisation of Women (GNOW) and the Sweet Water Foundation of Grenada benefited from that programme. GNOW is this year guided by the UN theme ‘Ensuring that no one is left behind: Envisioning an inclusive world in 2030,’ as they partner with the Ministry of Social Development to commemorate International Women’s Day on 8 March.

Lorice Pascal, Project Coordinator at GNOW, has commended the government for enacting legislation such as the Domestic Violence Act and the Child Protection and Adoption Act which seeks to foster parity and gender equality. However, she believes there are gaps that must be addressed to ensure that these laws are enforced. “We need to work a little more in the compliance of those laws. We need to deconstruct our domestic violence law and child protection act because we see some gaps and there should be an ongoing effort to ensure that these laws are up to date, but we are quite pleased where we are right now.”

Pascal said many achievements had been realised in recent years. However the process is still ongoing as there is still a lot more work to be done. “2030 is just around the corner, so we need to make sure that all of us are aware of how we are getting to 2030 if we are looking for parity and gender equality.”

Gender analyst with the Ministry of Social Development Jicinta Alexis said this year’s promotion of inclusion would serve to get women and men from all walks of life to be a part of this initiative. “We have a cocoa walk on 7 March in Grenville starting at 2 pm from Victoria Park to Progress Park. The following day we are partnering with some of our corporate and civil society partners to host a cocoa tea talk. Both events are in keeping with our mandate of inclusion, unity, harmony, prosperity, sisterhood, and justice for all.”

International Women’s Day 2018

Pascal said, “We are quite pleased that we are organising the cocoa walk and cocoa tea talk to commemorate International Women’s Day. The cocoa tea talk will be highlighting women who have overcome challenges particularly around gender-based violence and [who] were able to survive and would now showcase that level of conscious and encourage to other women to make that transformative change. Men are also included because we are leaving no one behind.”

The Ministry of Social Development has adopted this year’s UN theme #justice for all, #leave no one behind, and is asking people from Grenville and surrounding areas to come out in support.

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One thought on “Move towards gender equality ‘unacceptably slow’

  1. Anthea Japal

    The comment; “we are quite pleased with where we are” seems to contradict your headline.

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