Scott pressing ahead with gender equality programme
Government is pressing ahead with plans for a National Gender Policy in order to promote equality for women.
Community Affairs Minister Wayne Scott said that gender equality on the Island needed to be “promoted more in Bermuda” adding that “investing in our women changes a society and creates economic growth”.
Speaking in the House of Assembly this morning, Mr Scott said that a four-man Bermuda delegation had just returned from a United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), held to set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide.
The Bermuda contingent was led by Government Senator and Junior Minister for Community, Culture and Sports Alexis Swan, Department of Human Affairs director Deborah Blakeney, Department of Human Affairs policy analyst Jane Brett, and Laurie Shiell in a dual capacity as the Chairwoman of the Bermuda Women's Council and the Executive Director of the Centre Against Abuse.
“The CSW is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, dedicated exclusively to gender equality and the advancement of women,” Mr Scott said.
“Every year, representatives of UN member states gather at the UN Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide. CSW is the highest level international forum on gender equality and women's empowerment.”
The Bermuda group also attended a reception hosted by the UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations — Sir Mark Lyall Grant, which included an introduction to the UK Minister for Women & Equalities, Maria Miller. The Bermuda group also met with Helene Reardon-Bond, the UK Government Head of Policy for Equalities, to discuss the extension of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) to Bermuda.
Mr Scott said: “CEDAW is a landmark international agreement that affirms principles of fundamental human rights and equality for women around the world. The extension of CEDAW has been on my Ministry's agenda for some time. With some 187 countries having already signed onto the convention, CEDAW is one of the most ratified treaties in the world and it is time that Bermuda joined the group. The UK assured us that they will be focusing their efforts to progress this in the next few months.
“As Bermuda prepares to embark on the development of a national gender policy, attendance at this meeting was a tremendous opportunity to learn and gather information. Indeed Senator Swan informed me that she and the group are truly inspired by what they heard at the sessions and by the people that they met. She said that she is looking forward to developing and implementing some of the ideas and frameworks that the group heard about especially in regards to encouraging more young women to enter into the STEM professions.
“Equality for women is something thatneeds to be promoted more in Bermuda and investing in our women changes a society and creates economic growth.”