CARICOM Advances Gender Equality with New Strategy at Barbados Meeting

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Ministers responsible for gender affairs and equality from CARICOM Member States and Associate Members and other regional stakeholders at the Forty-Sixth Meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) – Gender.

In a pivotal move towards enhancing gender equality, ministers responsible for gender affairs from CARICOM Member States and Associate Members are currently gathered in Barbados for the Forty-Sixth Meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) – Gender. The meeting, which started on November 20 and continues through November 21, 2023, focuses on reviewing the draft CARICOM Gender Equality Strategy, aptly titled “Stepping It Up: A Strategy to Achieve Gender Equality in the Caribbean Community.”

Aligned with the Commonwealth’s “Year of Youth,” this meeting highlights the region’s commitment to tackling gender equality issues, especially in the challenging context of the post-COVID-19 era. The Strategy aims to address various gender-related challenges and opportunities that have arisen during the pandemic.

Discussions at the meeting are centered around the extensive work done over the past 17 months, involving consultations and validations across the region to shape the Strategy. This comprehensive approach is intended to mainstream gender in regional policies and align with Sustainable Development Goal 5, focused on gender equality.

Key topics under discussion include the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic, particularly its disproportionate effects on women and the notable increase in gender-based violence during this period. The Strategy emphasizes a collaborative approach, involving governments, civil society, the private sector, and international organizations, to effectively address the complex nature of gender inequality.

By engaging in this ongoing review, CARICOM Member States are demonstrating their commitment to establishing a more inclusive, equitable, and prosperous future in the Caribbean. The Strategy is not just a plan of action but a commitment to recognizing progress since the Beijing Declaration, understanding the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need to accelerate efforts towards achieving the SDGs.

The ongoing discussions at the meeting in Barbados signify a crucial step in the Caribbean’s journey towards gender equality, underlining a collective resolve to ensure the rights and dignity of all individuals, irrespective of gender, are upheld and celebrated. The CARICOM Gender Equality Strategy, once finalized, will stand as a testament to the region’s dedication to placing gender equality at the forefront of its developmental agenda.

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