Jamaica reviews laws to end violence against women

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica, Senator Kamina Johnson-Smith, right, making a presentation to the: Leave No One Behind: Actions and Commitments for Women’s Economic Empowerment forum, at the recently concluded 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.
Photo by Tangerine Clarke

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, told a panel headed by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, that a “Joint Select Committee” of parliament is currently reviewing four important pieces of legislation which address violence against women, children and other vulnerable groups, including the Sexual Offence Act and the Domestic Act.

She said Jamaica continue to work on implementing the National Policy for Gender Equality (NPGE) adopted in 2011 and aimed at mainstreaming gender in national development.

These policies were underlined to address the topic Leave no One Behind: Actions and Commitments for Women’s Economic Empowerment, presented at one of the many women forums held during the recently concluded 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly.

Senator Smith underscored the seriousness of the Jamaica government to eradicate the “far too prevalent gender-based violence”, stating that together with legislative review, the government has also developed a national strategic action plan to eliminate gender-based violence, approved by cabinet.

She noted that the plan provide for the use of inclusive public policies to overcome poverty, reduce violence, facilitate economic and social development and eliminate the historical and structural factors that perpetuate the practice of gender discrimination.

“Protection from discrimination on the basis of sex is already constitutionally enshrined,” she added.

In its pursuit of gender equality, Jamaica has engaged twenty-seven Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies that received certification of approval, as equitable working conditions for women.

As such, Jamaica has made notable strides in that the country boasts the highest proportion of woman managers not only in the region, but also, in the world, with 59 percent of all managers being woman, according Senator Smith.

She added that Jamaica is committed to reducing the persistent and increasing burdens on poverty on women and other vulnerable groups.

“To this end, Cabinet has recently approved the National Policy on Poverty and the National Poverty Reduction Program.”

Additionally, resulting activities are targeted and comprehensive, and include programs, which provide opportunities for adolescent mothers to receive skills training in a number of areas, increasing their employability, said Sen. Smith.

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