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Grange promoting need for more female involvement in Parliament

Published:Thursday | March 10, 2016 | 3:00 AMJason Cross
Grange: As the Minister of Culture, Gender affairs, Entertainment and Sports, I will be focusing on promoting Sustainable Development Goal Number 5, that is to achieve gender equality.

Newly installed Minister of Culture, Gender Affairs, Entertainment and Sports, Olivia Babsy Grange has announced her intentions to rigorously promote the need for more female involvement in Jamaican politics and promised the nation's women that they will be represented well throughout her tenure.

Grange told the mostly, female attendees on Tuesday, at the launch of the United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) book publication, at the University of the West Indies main library, that her hope was to remove systematic barriers to human rights and justice for every Jamaican, especially women.

The publication is entitled "Where are The Women". Tuesday, March 8 was also celebrated International Women's Day.

"As minister responsible for gender affairs, I'm particularly optimistic about the prospects of the Jamaican study which provides an overview of women's nuance to participation in political leadership. The hosting of this launch today is timely in so many ways, as we reflect on the fact that although we have made great strides, we have further to go in order to achieve true gender equality," Grange said.

Gender equality falls number five on the list of 19 sustainable development goals set by the UNDP and will be one of Grange's main areas of focus.

"As the Minister of Culture, Gender affairs, Entertainment and Sports, I will be focusing on promoting SDG No. 5, (Sustainable Development Goal) that is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. The local theme promoting partnership towards gender equality and sustainable development highlights the importance of promoting partnerships across all sectors in Jamaica towards achieving the gender equality and SDGs in general," she said.

The publication indicated that despite a slight increase, the number of women at the highest levels of decision making is still too low and Grange stated that this was taken into consideration when the members of the present JLP administration were being selected. She suggested that the lack of political will was the problem.

"Participation by women remains low at the highest levels of decision making and there still appears to be a lack of political will, to increase support for female politicians, especially in the area of campaign financing, but we're hoping to step it up. The publication therefore recommends the adoption of affirmative action and intense advocacy to increase the number of directly elected women in the legislature," the minister said.

Eugenia Piza Lopez, UNDP's regional team leader, who was in Panama, delivered a Skype presentation which revealed figures from the study, on the number of women in Caribbean parliaments.

There were three countries that had less than 10 per cent of their parliamentary sitting being females; nine countries with less than 15 per cent, 11 countries with less than 20 per cent; one country with more than 25 per cent but less than 30 per cent and two countries greater than 30 per cent but less than 35 per cent.