The Blueprints for Gender Equality Project, an initiative of the Canadian International Development Organization (CUSO) International, in conjunction with the Ministry of Gender Relations, recently held a community engagement session targeting civil society groups and government agencies in social development and justice to sensitize participants to issues in gender equity.
Saint Lucia is one of four countries in the Eastern Caribbean that will implement the Blueprints for Gender Equality Project (Blueprints), which is aimed at improving the Government’s approach to gender issues, with a focus on promoting open, inclusive, and gender-responsive governance.
The Minister for Public Service, Home Affairs, Labour and Gender Affairs, Hon. Dr. Virginia Albert Poyotte, said that through her advocacy, government has become more sensitive to the issues of gender equity, the vulnerabilities of women and girls, and the impact of incarceration on the lives of young men disproportionately affected by crime.
“We have to ensure that there is gender balance and gender sensitivity when government is allocating resources. Do we see an allocation that goes more toward women and why, or more towards men and why. We have to proportion resources so that those that are disadvantaged get more so that they can be on an equal footing with those on the other side,” she explained.
First Secretary at the High Commission of Canada in Barbados, Mr. David-Eric Simard, highlighted the importance of Blueprints to promote a culture of engagement between community groups and government.
“Through your engagement, interest and expertise, it is hoped that this session be a forum to share knowledge and experience to learn and to plan. This can help to continue positive momentum toward greater gender equality. It is important to find that nexus between government services and departments, and the civil society. The session can bring forth really interesting discussions that help serve the people of Saint Lucia.”
A highlight of the community engagement session was the presentation of the draft National Gender Equality Policy, the goal of which is to advance gender equality. The policy has three strategic priorities which include ending gender-based violence and women’s economic empowerment.