Women's rights under threat - Rev Dick
AS THE world celebrates International Women's Day today under the theme '#PressforProgress - a Push for Gender Parity Worldwide', the Reverend Devon Dick has asserted that women's rights are under threat in this country where boards such as the Police Service Commission (PSC) comprise solely men.
Recently, the Government appointed a new, all-male, five-member commission, chaired by Port Authority of Jamaica president, Professor Gordon Shirley. "It is unbelievable that the best five persons for the job are all males. Not one woman in Jamaica is qualified, prepared, and fit to be on the PSC?" Dick argues.
Noting that the Edward Seaga-led administration had promoted women to prominent positions, Dick, the immediate past president of the Jamaica Baptist Union, suggested that Holness mandate that all government boards and commissions include at least one woman. "Better yet, have a 60:40 men-to-women ratio on government boards," Dick opined.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange has advised The Gleaner that there is a policy in place to have a minimum of 30 per cent female representation on public bodies and in parliament.
Further, Grange, in her message to mark International Women's Day, has pointed out that despite the extraordinary roles that women play in every area of life, they are "severely under-represented in some important areas".
"That is why for this International Women's Day, we have chosen to focus our attention on empowering women and girls in science, technology, and business," she stated. "I have found that the major stumbling block to women entering these areas has been the societal stereotype - the pressure that we put on women and girls to fit inside a box."
Gender specialist and university lecturer Nadeen Spence concurs with Dick, stating that the PSC is an indication of how easy it is to resort to the kind of practices that undermine women's participation in leadership.