Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, confers with Director of the Bureau of Gender Affairs, John Hollingsworth, at the symposium. Looking on at right is the??Organisation of American States’ Representative in Barbados, Frances McBarnett. (Image: C. Pitt)

Barbados’ Principal Delegate to the Inter-Commission of Women (CIM), Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, has issued a reminder that economic crises affect women more than men.

And she warned that in a society like Barbados, where a significant number of households were female headed, the fallout, if not addressed, could threaten to reverse many of the social gains that the citizens of this country "know and cherish".

Senator Sandiford-Garner made the comments today while addressing a symposium on "The Impact of the Global Recession on Women" at Solidarity House, in celebration of February 18 as the Day of Women of the Americas.

She told the large audience: "We will, therefore, need to continue to work for social cohesion and to maintain our current welfare system and other social safety nets that alleviate the economic and social factors which make some more vulnerable.

"The development of more entrepreneurial opportunities ensures the development of human capital for a future which many analysts say will be within a jobless economic recovery."

Senator Sandiford-Garner noted that the new millennium had brought with it other challenges which would require different strategies to address their impact. She highlighted some of the difficulties as natural disasters, the feminisation of HIV/AIDS, climate change and the impact of the global economic recession.

She pointed out that throughout its history, the CIM, as an inter-American organisation for the defence of women’s rights, had repeatedly demonstrated its capacity to promote these rights, build consensus, and design ways to transform social and legal realities often specific to women’s interests and prone to forms of gender-based discrimination.

The Principal Delegate said CIM had sought to urge governments to take all appropriate measures to remove barriers to full and equal participation by women in civil, political, economic, social, cultural and political spheres. She added that it had focused efforts on removing gender-based violence through the development of the Convention of Belem do Para.

"The organisation has also been instrumental in placing the issue of trafficking in women and children on the Organisation of American States’ agenda and today, there is an active effort among member states to adopt legislation and design policy to address this issue.

"We in Barbados, in an effort to initiate the CIM Plan of Action, have implemented strategies to prevent, punish and eradicate gender-based violence and also to address the issue of trafficking in women and children," Senator Sandiford-Garner disclosed.

During the meeting, Government’s Advisor on Poverty Eradication and the Millennium Development Goals, Undene Whittaker, discussed the "Impact of the Global

Crisis on the Quality of Life of Women", while Public Health Nurse, Estleen Walker, examined the "Impact of Economic Recession on Health".

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