8 March 2020
Almost 25 years ago, Jamaica joined 188 countries in adopting the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action to achieve gender-equality.
We committed to take action to achieve parity in 12 critical areas, including: poverty; education and training; health; violence; economy; as well as power and decision-making.
Jamaica has made good progress in some areas and is now ranked 41st on the Global Gender Gap Index of 153 countries.
We have achieved parity in education — as one of only 25 countries to do that.
Additionally, we are ranked 24th in the world for Economic Participation and Opportunity on the basis that our women are engaged as equally as men in professional and technical professions — without marked differences when it comes to senior roles.
However, there are still too few women in the board rooms, serving as CEOs, or in Parliament.
Today as we celebrate women we pledge to do more to remove the obstacles — including gender discrimination and sexual harassment — that prevent women assuming leadership roles.
We need women willing and able to take up leadership positions. We all benefit when women and men work together to make the important decisions about our daily lives.
And we have to re-commit ourselves to ending violence against women and girls. As government, we are leading by amending legislation to prevent violence and deal effectively with perpetrators. We are also providing services — including shelters for victims.
And we continue the process of re-socialising our people to live by the mantra that there is no excuse for abuse.
Despite the challenges, Jamaican women continue to hold up more than half the sky and their contribution is felt in every area of national life.
The Global Gender Gap Report says that gender parity will not be attained for another 100 years. That’s a daunting prospect, but Jamaican women are persistent, resilient and hard working; and we will achieve parity for the next generation.
As Minister, I pledge to enable more women to shatter the glass ceiling into tiny splinters. And I urge a new generation of advocates to join the movement as we accelerate towards gender equality and a better country for all of us.
It is an amazing time to be a woman in Jamaica but the best is yet to come.
Happy International Women’s Day.
Olivia Grange, CD, MP
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport