National Gender Policy issues are discussed by (left to right) Ministerof State with Responsibility Affairs in Nevis, Hon Hazel Brandy-Williams; Secretary General for the St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission for UNESCO; Representative from UN Woman Multi-Country Office, Ms. Alison McLean; and Minister of State with Responsibility for Gender Affairs in St. Kitts, Hon Wendy Phipps.

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — A National Gender Policy plan to integrate gender equality and equity concerns in every sector of the Federation seeks to determine the role of state and non-state actors in the pursuit of gender justice.

The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, in collaboration with the St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has joined others in the international community to launch a National Gender Equality Policy.

The launch that took place Nov. 29, under the theme “Enhancing Development through Gender Equality,” advocates for non-discrimination on the grounds of sex.

Project Consultant, Ingrid Charles-Gumbs said that in 2014, the Caribbean Development Bank funded a study in St. Kitts called the “Gender Equality Study. One of the recommendations that came out of the study was the preparation of a Gender Policy as a matter of urgency and priority.

“The general objective of the gender policy is to provide a framework that will assist the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis in facilitating gender equality and empowerment,” Charles-Gumbs said. “The policy will be broken down into two parts, which are gender mainstreaming and gender setting.

“Gender mainstreaming will ensure that gender issues are addressed within the existing development strategies and programmes. Gender setting will seek to transform the existing agenda through the systematic application of a gender perspective.”

Charles-Gumbs pointed out seven other strategies: gender sensitization; training; promotion; public ownership of the policy; data desegregation; promoting women’s empowerment and gender equality; and establishing a gender responsive, monitoring and evaluating mechanism within government and other agencies.”

She quoted the late United Nations’ Secretary General, Kofi Annan who said, “Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.”

Minister of State with responsibility for Gender Affairs, the Honourable Wendy Phipps commended UNESCO for its continued support and funding of the policy consultation and wished it every success.

“I wish the consultative process every success,” Phipps said. “The Ministry of Gender Affairs is fully committed to the task…we will work to strengthen our relationships with UNESCO and other like-minded agencies.

“Wherever possible we will achieve what we need to get St. Kitts and Nevis on the map. “Our goals and ambitions are to maintain and ensure women and men play their role in the development of this country for the sustainable future.”