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Empowering women, empowering humanity: Picture it!

Published:Sunday | March 8, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Dr Leith Dunn (left) of the Institute For Gender & Development Studies, Mona Unit outlines some facts to Colette Roberts- Risden, of Office of the Prime Minister during the opening ceremony of International Women's Day Expo at the University of the West Indies on last year.

A message from the Institute for Gender and Development Studies to mark International Women's Day 2015.

The Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS), joins the international community as it celebrates International Women's Day (IWD) 2015, and recognises the particular significance of this year's celebrations.

As the world simultaneously honours the accomplishments of women and renews its commitment to gender equality, IWD 2015 also marks the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action - the historic road map signed by 189 governments, which established a clear agenda for realising women's rights; and recognised gender equality as critical to securing sustainable development.

This year also marks 50 years since the establishment of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The achievements as well as the challenges of the last two decades have shaped the Post 2015 Development Agenda, which includes actions to eliminate all barriers to achieving human rights for all.

The theme of this year's observance of IWD - 'Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!' reminds us that women and girls must be free to picture a world in which there is no violence against women or girls in the home, at work or sanctioned by the State.

A world in which, despite perceived educational advantages, educational outcomes get translated into labour market participation for women and girls who remain disproportionately represented among the unemployed.

Women and girls must be free to picture a world in which the expected and accepted division of labour in the household does not compromise their ability to excel outside the home; where they are active participants in all levels of governance, and where their sexual and reproductive health choices are respected.




Women and girls must be free to focus their lenses on a world in which the multiple forms of discrimination against women and girls, including racial discrimination, are things of the past.

Building on 22 years of work in teaching, research advocacy, public education and public service, the IGDS recommits itself to building awareness of gender roles and attitudes that create inequality, and to supporting mainstreaming gender in all policies and structures to promote sustainable human development for all males and females irrespective of difference related to age, race/ethnicity, class, abilities and other forms of diversity.

The IGDS endorses and echoes the sentiments of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who notes in his message for International Women's Day 2015 that, "when we unleash the power of women, we can secure the future for all".

We remain committed to supporting implementation of Jamaica's National Policy for Gender Equality (2011) and the process of mainstreaming gender in all sectors of the economy. This includes development of a Gender Policy for the University of the West Indies.