Plans are moving ahead to sensitise some segments of Barbadian society about the importance of gender equality in areas like housing, education and employment.

The Bureau of Gender Affairs will host a half-day symposium entitled: Gender in Urban Planning: Mainstreaming Gender in Housing, Employment and Education, on Wednesday, July 9, in the Bridgetown and St. Michael Conference Rooms, located on the 5th Floor, Baobab Tower, Warrens, St. Michael.

The symposium, which will run from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., seeks to address the issue of gender mainstreaming, which is the concept of assessing the different implications that any planned policy action will have for women and men. It is also a strategy used as a means of achieving the goal of gender equality.

The target audience for the event includes architects and engineers, and the aim is to achieve equity and social justice by an increase in opportunities in the target areas. This could be achieved through increased employment opportunities for females in male-dominated areas; and an increase in the number of females being educated in the fields of engineering, architecture and building.

Participants will also have the opportunity to discuss strategies to implement low-cost housing solutions, and the establishment of different financing protocols to allow women access to financing for housing.

The symposium will seek to educate participants about gender mainstreaming in relation to professions; sensitise participants about the links between gender equality and how it relates to opportunities for men and women; and to create awareness of gender equality among the targeted professionals.

Speakers will include persons from a cross section of Ministries. A representative from the Ministry of Labour will speak to the Sexual Division of Labour ??? Does it Really Exist; another from the Ministry of Housing will address Innovative and Low Cost Housing; while a talk on Research and Targeted Education will be given by an education expert.

The topics Gender and Access to Finance, as well as Gender and Urban Planning will be discussed by representatives from the private sector and the Town and Country Planning Department, respectively.

The Bureau of Gender Affairs is mandated to ensure the integration of gender into policies and plans to achieve greater gender equality between men and women in Barbados.

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