Kingston, 6 December 2022 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, opened a debate in the House of Representatives on Monday (today) on a motion for the amendment of the Standing Orders to establish the Bicameral Caucus of Women Parliamentarians.
Minister Grange said the Caucus would “provide a collaborative space for all women parliamentarians, regardless of party affiliation... facilitate dialogue on issues of women’s rights and gender equality and undertake actions to positively impact the inclusiveness of the legislature, legislative process and our country as a whole.”
The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Most Honourable Juliet Holness, and the Opposition MP, Dr Angela Brown Burke, spoke in favour of the establishment of the caucus of women parliamentarians at the opening of the debate on the motion.
This follows a weekend training retreat of women Members of Parliament and Senators that discussed several issues including the setting up of the caucus.
The retreat also focused on promoting women's political participation, gender equality concepts in relation to legislative work, ongoing gender equality initiatives in Jamaica as well as opportunities for collaboration among women parliamentarians on priority issues that transcend politics such as gender-based violence, and capacity building on applying a gender perspective in legislative work.
The training retreat on Saturday and Sunday (December 3 and December 4) in Ocho Rios, St Ann was attended by several women MPs and Senators as well as Councillors from both sides of the political divide.
This activity was made possible with the support of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative and the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada. It was organised
by the Bureau of Gender Affairs in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport with the support of ParlAmericas, the UN Women Multi-Country Office for the Caribbean and the Jamaica Houses of Parliament.
The retreat was a response to the request for training by women parliamentarians towards achieving inclusive and effective outcomes for their constituents and the continued implementation of the National Policy for Gender Equality (2011).
The decision-makers in attendance committed to working together to promote gender equality in legislative work. They also reached consensus on the importance of trust and a commitment to honest communication and collaborative advocacy on issues specific to women and children in the legislative process; learning more about and prioritising people-centred approaches in legislative work; and to holding a follow-up meeting by March 2023.