Ministry tackles gender discrimination

| 16/04/2013

equal-pay.gifThe Ministry of Community Affairs, Gender and Housing has been running a gender equality capaign for the last four months in an effort to stamp out stereotyping. Under the theme: ‘Make it a New Year’s Resolution: Promote Gender Equality. Don’t Stereotype,’ the Ministry has focused on disparities between men and women in areas such as income, activities, education, work and health. The minister responsible for gender, Dwayne Seymour, explained, “We chose the theme because stereotyping is an issue to which everyone can relate and one of the root causes of these inequalities. Also, many people make New Year’s Resolutions aimed at bettering themselves, so we wanted to encourage everyone to make one in 2013 that will also benefit society as a whole."

He added, "It is important to change our perceptions of ‘typical gender roles’, and understand that such roles can prevent us from reaching our full potential.”

Using data from the 2010 Census of Population and Housing that compared the status and achievements of males and females, the Ministry, with help from the Economics and Statistics Office (ESO) and Government Information Services (GIS), created an informational brochure that illustrated gaps.

The Ministry’s says that the census data further supported the need for recent legislation such as the Gender Equality Law, 2011, which seeks to prevent discrimination in employment and related matters on the basis of sex, gender, marital status and pregnancy. The Law also guarantees equal pay for men and women who perform work of equal value for their employers.

The Ministry also says that while legislation and policies that prohibit discrimination and provide sanctions for offenders and remedies for victims are important, it is often attitudes towards sex, gender, marital status and pregnancy stereotypes that influence the extent to which individuals receive equal opportunities.

As well as editorial and advertisements in local media, Ministry staff and government officials have taken part in a variety of broadcast interviews educating the public about stereotypes and discrimination.

Commenting on the campaign’s outcome, Seymour said, “Thankfully, with this information, members of the public now have a better understanding of how stereotypes and prejudice lead to direct, indirect and structural discrimination. This in itself is a powerful reminder that knowledge empowers us to take action in our everyday lives – and as a result, take action in our country.”

With this information, the government plans to develop further initiatives aimed at reducing inequality and drawing attention to ways in which a gender perspective can be incorporated in the design of every type of policies and programme developed by public agencies, private companies, community-based groups and other organisations and individuals.

“In order to truly eliminate barriers that prevent men and women,  girls and boys from having equal opportunities, we must all recognise how our own actions and decisions affect other people, and strive to view each person as an individual and not pre-judge people based on stereotypes,” remarked the Ministry’s Senior Policy Advisor  (Gender Affairs), Tammy Ebanks.

The Ministry is encouraging businesses, professional associations, students, teachers, service clubs and other community organisations, to organise group discussions on the topic of stereotyping and equality. The Ministry has also offered to deliver a presentation on the subject to interested groups, who can make a request by email at genderequality@gov.ky or by phone on 244-3226. More information is available online at www.genderequality.gov.ky, or at the Government Administration Building, the Health Services Authority and all public libraries. The Ministry is also encouraging members of the public to learn more about their rights and obligations under the Gender Equality Law and other legislation that promotes non-discrimination such as the Cayman Islands Constitution 2009.

Category: Local News

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  1. Diogenes says:

    Think Dwayne will find that the voters have made a New year Resolution that will benefit the community as a whole.