Gender Ministry Signs Agreement To Fight Violence Against Females

The Gender Ministry signs agreement: The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport has signed an implementing partnership agreement with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) as part of local efforts to eradicate violence against women and girls.

This has been done through the Bureau of Gender Affairs, under the European Union (EU)-funded Spotlight Initiative.

The Spotlight Initiative is a global, multi-year partnership between the EU and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against this vulnerable group.

The agreement was signed during the national observance of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW) on November 25, which traditionally marks the launch of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.

IDEVAW seeks to create public awareness of all forms of violence against women and girls and its impact on socio-economic development.

The event was held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston, under the national theme, ‘The Empowered Woman: From Victim to Survivor’.

Local observance of IDEVAW seeks to highlight the National Strategic Action Plan to eliminate Gender-Based Violence (NSAP-GBV) in Jamaica 2017-2027, as well as to provide information regarding IDEVAW and the resources available to victims of gender-based violence. It also seeks to highlight the connection between HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence.

Portfolio Minister, Olivia Grange, in her address at the event, said gender-based violence takes many forms – psychological, physical, sexual, and economic.

Citing data from the local Women’s Health Survey, she said it indicated that one in every four women in Jamaica has been slapped, beaten with fists, pushed, kicked, attacked or threatened with a weapon by a male partner, and 25 per cent of Jamaican women have been sexually abused by men who are not their intimate partners.

“The majority of men who sexually abused women were friends or male acquaintances and one out of every five women reported being sexually abused before they reached the age of 18, and the perpetrator is a family member or friend,” the Minister added.

She said the Ministry endorses the efforts of the Bureau of Gender Affairs to encourage national dialogue concerning gender-based violence and supports the fight to eliminate gender-based violence and promote equality, justice, and human dignity for all.

For his part, Minister Counsellor/Deputy Head of the European Delegation, Frederik Ekfeldt, said the EU and the UN are committed to supporting gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide, investing an initial global commitment of €500 million from the EU towards the realisation of the Spotlight Initiative.

“We acknowledge that gender inequality is a global problem and major human rights violation. Gender equality and women’s empowerment, therefore, is a core value and objective of both EU internal and external policies. This is the reason the EU has teamed up with the UN to fight against one of the most prevalent forms of violence against women and girls.  This is why the EU and the UN want to join all local stakeholders to put a spotlight on this scourge,” he said.

Representatives from partner organisations participated in the event, including the Deputy Director, UNFPA Sub-Regional Office for the Caribbean, Seth Broekman; and Takisha Sten-Barnes, who represented Dr. Kevin Harvey, Caribbean Regional Director of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

The international theme for IDEVAW and the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence is ‘Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!’. This is observed from November 25 to December 10 annually.

This year’s observance will take in World AIDS Day, December 1; International Day of Persons with Disabilities, December 3; and International Human Rights Day, December 10.