Sen. Irene Sandiford-Garner (FP)????

Parliamentary Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, and Barbados’ Principal Delegate to the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM), Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner is heading to Washington to participate in an interactive panel discussion on "Women’s Experiences in Political Power".

The event, which forms part of the launching of the Inter-American Year of Women 2010, will take place in Washington, D.C., this Thursday, February 25.

The theme for the year, which was proclaimed by the Organisation of American States (OAS), is "Women and Power: For a World of Equality".

Also participating in the discussion will be Academic and Researcher of Paraguay, Line Bareiro; Senator of the Colombian Congress, Cecilia Lopez Montano; Congresswoman, Guatemalan Congress, Otilia Lux de Coti; former candidate for the Presidency of Mexico, Patricia Mercado; and Representative, United States House of Representatives; Jan Schakowsky. The moderator will be the Director, Department of International Affairs, Secretariat for External Relations, OAS, Irene Klinger.?????? The panellists will look at the opportunities and support that they drew on to help them achieve their present positions, as well as the challenges and discrimination that they have encountered along the way. The aim of the session is to identify priority areas for action in terms of supporting and promoting women’s participation and leadership in decision-making positions and processes throughout the region.The experiences shared during the launch will be added to experiences collected through interviews with female political, economic and social leaders throughout the year, and published as an Anthology on Women and Power at the end of 2010.

During the year, the CIM will work with political parties, parliaments, cabinets, the justice sector and other formal political mechanisms at the national and local levels.?? Its remit is to rethink the parameters of women’s participation in political and decision-making processes and strengthen the commitment of all Member States to promoting and protecting women’s right to participation in conditions of equality and non-discrimination.

While in Washington, Senator Sandiford-Garner, who is also Barbados’ director of the local Haiti relief effort, will attend a high-level CIM meeting on Friday, February 26.?? Minister of the Feminine Condition and Women’s Rights in Haiti, Marjorie Michel, will report to delegates on the situation in Haiti, and attention will be paid particularly to gender-based efforts/interventions.

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