Minister Grange's comments were contained in a speech read on her behalf by Mr. Denzil Thorpe, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, at the Opening Ceremony of an Inter-Parliamentary Meeting for ParlAmericas' Anglophone Membership taking place at the Jamaica Pegasus. The theme of the meeting is Partnerships to Transform Gender Relations.
Minister Grange said that achieving sustainable gender equality required "behaviour change — each person making a personal commitment to supporting gender equality, especially the men who dominate our parliaments and have considerable power to bring about change."
She said the constituents of those in parliaments across the Americas are expecting gender equality to be achieved.
"We have made progress in our region but there is much more to do. In Jamaica, for example, out of 84 parliamentarians, 16 or 19 percent are women," Miss Grange said.
She said that research had shown that gender equality was good for business too, pointing out that the more gender-equal companies had higher rates of retention, higher job satisfaction and higher rates of productivity.
"There's an overwhelming body of evidence showing the undeniable connection between women's economic participation and prosperity. As an IDB staffer, Robert Pantzer, put it so well recently: 'Wherever the situation of women has improved, the overall economic condition in the country had improved as well.'
ParlAmericas is the institution that promotes parliamentary diplomacy in the inter-American system. The organisation facilitates the exchange of parliamentary best practices and promotes cooperative political dialogue.
The ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network for Gender Equality promotes women's political leadership and gender mainstreaming in the operations of legislatures of the Americas including the Caribbean.
Minister Grange expressed her gratitude for all the partnerships that have made the ParlAmericas meeting possible.
With two days of workshops, the meeting ends tomorrow, January 25.