Barbados is seeking to implement a National Gender Policy for the island.

This was disclosed by Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Social Care, Ernesta Drakes, as she delivered opening remarks at the Barbados Country Gender Assessment (CGA) National Stakeholder Workshop at the Caribbean Development Bank, Wildey, St. Michael.

She described the workshop as being ???timely???, since Barbados was in the process of developing a national policy statement on gender and assessing the importance of certain gender indicators in its culture.

???We recognise that gender-responsive programmes, policies and initiatives are critical to advancing our Ministry???s mandate if we are to improve the social well-being of our nation,??? PS Drakes noted, adding that the National Policy on Gender would help the Ministry to make informed decisions, provide the framework to improve the status of men and women, as well as to indicators for measurement in areas such as gender based violence, women in decision making, employment and youth affairs, among others.

Ms. Drakes noted that an existing programme, Partnership for Peace, which provides men with new skills to handle conflict in their relationships, addresses gender issues in a practical way.

She explained that the programme ???works with the judicial system???and places great emphasis on the perpetrators taking account of their actions???.

According to her the National Policy on Gender should provide additional information which will help devise additional interventions necessary to address this issue.

Minister of Social Care, Steve Blackett, also disclosed that the Bureau of Gender Affairs was in the process of creating ???an institutional framework which will initiate and coordinate our efforts to strengthen relations between the sexes.??? This framework seeks to address six major issues.

These are: power and decision making, health and education, employment, poverty and housing, family and sexuality, culture language and spirituality and violence and crime. The findings of this assessment will strengthen our understanding of where we are and what needs to be done.

The Minister further stated that the broad-based framework would provide information on the ???transitioning of former roles in relation to our changing landscape.

Mr. Blackett said: ???It will help us to determine how we can make optimum use of our resources to build and transform the material and ideological conditions which will hamper our development.???

Barbados was one of 10 countries in the region to be part of the CDB???s gender assessment exercise, which began in 2010.

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