Nadisha Hunter, Staff Reporter
SEVERAL WOMEN'S organisations are calling for an improvement in the way women are treated in the island, stating that last year was a less-than-favourable year for the vulnerable group.
Executive director of Women's Resource and Outreach Centre, Dorothy Whyte, said while the current economic climate is limiting the Government's effort, more can be done to address issues such as crime which continue to plague the group.
"Last year, despite the attempts to make women more secure, there were so many atrocities that were highlighted through the media, half of which we don't even hear because a lot of the incidents were not reported. Last year was a pretty poor year," Whyte told The Gleaner.
"I hope that there will be an increase in the plans that are made to ensure safety for women, for girls and for the entire family. We want to see some definite and serious actions taken to address this very serious problem in society," she added.
Whyte also said it was time women take on more responsibilities for their families and take up leadership positions in the country.
"We want women in the informal communities realising that they have a vital role to play in the society, and the role that they can play is through how they lead and encourage their families to think positively and encourage their children to be in school. We want to see women taking on more leadership roles and not holding themselves back."
Coordinator for public education and legal reform at Women's Inc, Joyce Hewett, said at the top on her group's agenda was to lobby for the signing of the Optional Protocol of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the enactment of a sexual-harassment legislation.
"We have been fighting for years to have the optional protocol signed. While the Government had ratified the convention itself, women do not have a right when they have exhausted all legal remedies that they can take their case forward to the United Nations, and it is the optional protocol that will give them the right to do so," she argued.
"Also, the harassment legislation is important and we don't want a policy, we want a sexual-harassment legislation and this must come to the front burner for 2013," she added.