EasyPoli meets UN Women Excecutive Director – Jamaica EasyPoli

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka was in the Caribbean for the first time. A key emphasis of the Executive Director’s visit was on the importance of human security and safety of women and girls in the region.

In Jamaica, the social discrimination against women, particularly with regards to sexual violence, is often exacerbated by the criminal justice system; many women in the country are reluctant to report incidences of gender-based violence to the police. Consequently, it is estimated that only about 25% of sexual violence is reported. Across all social groups, violence and various forms of abuse are part of the daily experience of many women and girls.

According to 2014 Economic and Social Survey of Jamaica (ESSJ) that from emergency room visits between January to September 2014, men outnumbered women for blunt force injuries (889 v 588). However, 46 males under 20 were admitted for injuries as a result of sexual assault, as against 778 girls and women. Add to this, 114 under 20 girls were admitted for attempted suicide – almost twice the number of boys (58).

In a meeting with Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Honourable Olivia Grange, the Executive Director commended the Government of Jamaica for passing progressive laws.

“The Government of Jamaica is committed and this partnership will ensure that we can achieve the objectives of UN Women. Economic empowerment of women is a critical area, and we are going to work towards achieving this goal,” Ms. Grange said.

UN Women Executive Director also congratulated Minister Grange on Jamaica’s progress in developing legislation to address violence against women.

In a town hall on women’s leadership, economic empowerment and sustainable development at the University of the West Indies (Mona Campus), Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka explored the issues plaguing gender equality. She also noted that unfortunately, even the United Nations needs to make some changes when it comes to female leaders. Women holding high-ranking positions which will cause them to relocate also becomes an issue based on family structure as most times it is easier for men to travel with their wives than for the women to travel with their husbands. The socialisation of men being the breadwinner is also something that poses a problem, and so their has to be a change of mindset before there can be a change of action.

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