Keep pushing toward gender equality - Canadian MP
In introducing Canada's New Feminist International Assistance Policy, Celina Caesar-Chavannes, Canada's parliamentary secretary for international development, has stressed the importance for developing countries like Jamaica to make the inclusion of women and girls a priority.
She was the keynote speaker during a forum hosted by the High Commission of Canada in collaboration with the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CAPRI), held at the University of West Indies' Regional Headquarters in St Andrew.
Chavannes indicated that gender equality cannot be achieved by women and girls working in isolation.
"We cannot hope to accomplish this ambitious agenda if half the world's population is not included in decisions, in power and in opportunities," she said, noting that the policy was launched a month ago.
"It is to everyone's advantage to amplify the voices of women and girls because we know that when they can choose their own futures and contribute fully to their communities, everyone benefits. And yet it will take determination and persistence to accomplish this fundamental shift," she continued.
She said going forward, some imperatives will include partners consulting women locally and involving them in decisions, in order to get Canadian funding.
"Canada has a close, long-standing relationship with the Caribbean based on links through trade, investment, academic links, immigration, tourism and strong personal and family connections.
"Work is already on under way, but Canada's new feminist international assistance policy will be working to incorporate this kind of innovation and attention to gender in all of our programmes."
Other speakers included, Sharon Coburn Robinson, senior director at the Bureau of Gender Affairs and Dr Adwoa Onuora, affiliate researcher at CAPRI.