CIDT conduct review of Jamaica’s national policy for gender equality

Rufsana Begum and Mary Surridge

Funded by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund, CIDT staff are working with the Bureau of Gender Affairs to conduct a review and revision of the National Policy for Gender Equality (NPGE) to ensure that the policy is current and meets the needs and concerns of all women, men, young women and young men and vulnerable groups.

In spite of the COVID-19 travel restrictions, through local partnerships, national and community networks, the consultants will conduct online surveys, consultations, focus group discussions and interviews, to ensure the voices of those most marginalised are included in the review.

The NPGE was approved in 2011, with a primary goal to ensure the principle of equality between women and men. The NPGE outlines Jamaica’s commitment to addressing the long-term systemic forms of discrimination both direct and indirect against women in the public and private spheres, identifying and overcoming the limitations to the empowerment of women and men and ultimately creating a society that values gender equality. The objectives of the NPGE are to:

  • To reduce all forms of gendered discrimination and promote greater gender equality and social justice.
  • To strengthen institutional mechanisms and develop the skills and tools required to mainstream gender in cultural, social, economic, and political institutions, structures, and systems.
  • To promote sustainable behaviour change and improve organizational effectiveness and the capacity of public sector entities to develop, implement and monitor gender responsive plans, projects, programmes, and policies.

CIDT consultants, Mary Surridge, Rufsana Begum and national consultant Judith Wedderburn, have been contracted to undertake a comprehensive evaluation, review and revision of the NPGE.

The review process explores:

  1. The current situation in relation to gender
  2. The gender-related changes in the past 10 years.
  3. The role of the NPGE in contributing to the change.
  4. What a revised policy should include

Moreover, the current situation provides a critical opportunity for the consultants to test the robustness of the mechanisms for gender equality incorporated in the NPGE, in light of COVID 19, concerning the differential impacts on women and men, and the restrictions such as curfews and lockdown. Preliminary analysis by donors and NGOs highlight that COVID 19 is having significant detrimental impacts on the lives of women and those of their families, deepening pre-existing inequalities, exposing vulnerabilities in the social protection mechanisms in both developing and developed countries.

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