New laws coming to protect women

| 05/02/2009

(CNS): Government is currently working on two pieces of legislation that will help protect and promote women’s rights in the Cayman Islands. Health Minister Anthony Eden has announced that his ministry is working on a Domestic Violence Bill and an Anti-Discrimination Bill that would enable the Cayman Islands to become a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Fifty years ago today (5 February), the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Law came in to force and women were given the vote and the right to run for political office. Speaking at the recent National Heroes day, celebrating the contribution of women to the Cayman Islands, Eden said he was establishing an Office of Gender Affairs.

“It is an expansion of gender awareness that will enable policy makers, planners, administrators and society at large to better understand that inequality between the sexes is a significant underlying cause of national and global difficulties, within families, labour, trade and migration, to name a few areas,” he added.

The minister said that, while the women of Cayman’s history had laid the foundation for equality when they sought the vote and the right to stand for public office, there was still more work to be done. “Improvement in our gender relations is essential to the achievement of social well-being, and a responsibility of good governance. To improve gender relations, we must ensure and nurture an environment in which women and men are allowed equal conditions to realize their human rights and their potential to contribute to  political, economic, social and cultural development, not only locally, but also at regional and international levels,” Eden said.

In his Heroes Day speech, Governor Stuart Jack also called for the extension of CEDAW to Cayman. He said that women had come a long way and compared to the UK women occupy a higher proportion of the senior jobs in Cayman. He said the struggle continues and in Estella Scott Roberts the country lost an energetic advocate of better treatment for women.

“I hope that before long we can honour her memory and further the rights of all women in this community in a number of ways,” he said. “Firstly, by reducing domestic and gender violence. Secondly, by addressing inequality in the work place, notably lower pay than men, and by continuing the efforts to provide better education that will make that more achievable. “

He also said there was a need to agree a new Constitution that recognises the contribution of women and adds to the protection of their human rights.

Unveiling the new statue dedicated to women in Heroes Square, Minister Alden McLaughlin thanked his Legislative Assembly colleagues for their unanimous support and encouragement, in particular, MLAs Lucille Seymour and Alfonso Wright, who brought the Motion calling for the 2009 Heroes Day to be dedicated to the Women of Cayman and for a monument to be erected in the square.

“The 5th February this year will be the 50th anniversary of the coming into force of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Law, which gave to women the right to vote and to stand for public office. When the Caymanian women of my mother’s generation began to seriously agitate for political rights, I doubt if any of them regarded their actions as particularly heroic or themselves as heroes.  They were simply doing what they believed was right.  But because they had the courage to do so, they are heroes,” McLaughlin added.

Speaking to the people assembled for the occasion, Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said it was only fitting to encourage the men of the community to continue to support Caymanian women in their goals and aspirations,

“These women are our mothers, our wives, our daughters, and the mothers of our children.  They are also the women who work alongside you every day, as well as your friends and mentors, and in many cases, they are the primary and only reason you made it through this life …. I take this opportunity to implore all men to be there for our women, as they have been there for us …. ‘Thank you’ to the women of our community for standing by us,” he said.



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  1. whodatis says:

    I applaud these developments, however, we need to exercise a bit of caution at the same time.

    In 2009, there is a world-wide epidemic of WOMEN that ABUSE "women’s rights" and state protection against "domestic violence" for their own dirty, seedy, twisted reasons.

    I am speaking from experience here. Many women today are just as or even more aggresive than men in domestic disputes – however, when the neighbours hear the commotion and the police are called it is ALWAYS viewed in one way and one way only…"He was beating his wife / woman!"

    Like I said – speaking from experience.

    Bear in mind folks, not every woman today is a "lady"!!



  2. Twyla M Vargas says:


    What about the women of Bodden Town, that have been discriminated against in so many ways.  Its a long long story with no ending in sight.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Too little, too late.  What legislation if any, has the PPM brought in?  Nothing.  Where is the Labour legislation to protect our people?  Where is the Education and Training legislation to protect our childrenand give them a solid educational foundation?  Where is the Childen’s Law?

    The entire PPM government should be ashamed.  They have disgraced  the people of the Cayman Islands, and I for one hope that none of them get back in the Legislative Assembly.  Let us start from scratch with people of good will, and not the arrogant, self-serving and vindicative politicians of the PPM. 

  4. Rellim says:

    It’s about time!!!!

    The Cayman Islands should have already been a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

    This is one step closer to being and/or portraying the modern, world-class, and forward-moving society that we know ourselves to be.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It is high time and we (I am a woman) should have had these Laws a long long time ago!!

    I guess we will get all sorts of "Laws" now, it is another election year!, but I know how I will vote…


  6. Anonymous says:

    Finally the minister begins to work!! VOTE HIM OUT!!!