Address by Prime Minister, Dr Rt. Hon. Keith Mitchell, on the Launch of Caribbean Women Count: The Ending Violence Against Women and Girls Data Hub on Tuesday, 18 August 2020.
- My Cabinet Colleagues, the Honourable Delma Thomas, Minister of Social Development, Housing and Community Empowerment, Grenada and other Ministers of the Government of Grenada.
- Mr Didier Trebucq, United Nations Resident Coordinator – Barbados and the OECS
- Ms Maria-Noel Vaeza, Regional Director – UN Women Americas and Caribbean Regional Office and other representatives of UN Women.
- Ms Diana Wilson Patrick, Vice-President (Operations) (Ag.) – Caribbean Development Bank and other representatives of CDB.
- National Gender Machineries, National Statistical Offices and other Government Officials in the Caribbean
- Members of Women’s civil society organisations and members of the media
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is my pleasure today to address the Joint Launch of Caribbean Women Count: The Ending Violence against Women and Girls Data Hub and The Grenada Women’s Health and Life Experiences Study Report.
Violence against women and girls remains a subject of serious concern for this government. Today, Grenada is presenting its report, being one of the 5 Caricom countries that conducted national surveys to measure the prevalence of gender-based violence in the region.
For the first time in Caricom, the reports from Grenada and other participating countries provide data on this subject, data that will allow for an assessment of countries’ progress on Sustainable Development Goal Target 5.2, which is to “Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation”.
Caribbean Women Count: The Ending Violence against Women and Girls Data Hub conveys some sobering information which confirms that all the countries have a shared challenge that must be urgently addressed. Permit me to point out a few.
- Lifetime prevalence in all five countries is either around or higher than the global average of 30%. That is, 1 in 3 women will experience physical and or sexual violence during her lifetime.
- Lifetime prevalence of all the forms of violence measured, that is physical, sexual, emotional, and economic combined, ranges between 39% and 55%.
- The surveys confirm that controlling behaviour such as stopping women from meeting friends, insisting on knowing where they are at all times, frequently getting jealous or angry if they speak with another man or simply check their cellphone, presents as the highest risk factor for experiencing intimate physical and/or sexual violence in most of the countries.
Sisters and brothers, violence against women and girls hurts the moral fabric of our society. Let us redouble our efforts to stamp out this human rights violation that is robbing them of their pride, dignity and sense of well-being and security.
In March of this year, Grenada made clear its intention to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls through the launch of the country programme for the Spotlight Initiative. Under this programme, the government, civil society and others are working together to respond to family violence through legislative and other measures.
In the face of Covid-19, meetings and consultations are being held virtually, because we are determined to see this through.
The compilation of the national prevalence data on violence against women and girls in Grenada and other countries, means Caricom has made significant progress towards filling the wide gender data gap. However, there is still so much that we can do.
If we want to inform our national policies and programmes to address harmful gender norms that underpin and drive violence, we must now analyse that data and ensure that it is widely disseminated and discussed.
Despite the sobering results of the five surveys, it is encouraging to note that most of the women do not stay silent. The data confirms that they tell someone close to them, mostly a family member or a close friend about the experience with violence from their partners.
We cannot remain bystanders to violence against women and girls. This problem is not just a private family matter, it is a public human rights violation. Collective action is needed to address individual, community, national and regional responses.
As Prime Minister of Grenada, I took a stand in 2019 and signed on to the “HeForShe” solidarity movement, because I recognised the value of the initiative in advancing gender equality. HeForShe is a global effort that calls on men and boys to take ownership for, and to play their part in working for equality, by taking action against negative gender stereotypes and behaviours.
As shown from the survey results, we must work with men and boys in Caricom countries to promote healthy masculinity and the rejection of violence. We must all work together to reject violence and harmful gender norms.
We must use the data to inform legal, policy and programme reforms.
I urge programme managers and practitioners working on community-based interventions to visit Caribbean Women Count: The Ending Violence against Women and Girls Data Hub and use the data and information to support your interventions.
I urge policymakers and lawmakers to familiarize themselves with the data in order to craft or strengthen laws and policies to eliminate violence against women and girls.
I urge researchers, academics and students, particularly those based in Caricom, to further research and analyse the rich data produced from these five countries.
More countries should conduct the survey using the Caricom Model and continue producing, analysing and disseminating the data.
I encourage other Caricom Member States to conduct this survey using the Caricom Model. While we must acknowledge the efforts of the five countries that have conducted the survey, more data is needed to provide a regionally representative measure of the prevalence of violence against women and girls.
I encourage Caricom Member States to include this survey in their national statistical agenda. This means that it must be conducted every 5 to 10 years for the data to remain relevant, and I encourage governments to plan ahead and allocate resources in their budgets to make this a reality.
Accurate, relevant and timely statistics provide the valuable insight needed to design and implement effective development programmes. Therefore, it is important that we use the newly created data hub to create more effective and efficient programmes to curb violence against women and girls, and to promote gender equality in Grenada and in our Caricom neighbours as well.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it gives me pleasure to launch the Portal, Caribbean Women Count: The Ending Violence against Women and Girls Data Hub.
I thank you.