A clarion call has been made for all members of society to transform their view of the roles of men and women, as efforts continue to address gender equality.

The call was made by Minister of Social Care, Steve Blackett, as he addressed the opening of the Caribbean Forum on Gender Equality and the Post-2015 Agenda, which was held at the Hilton Barbados yesterday.

The two-day forum was designed to encourage discussion on gender equality so as to develop a common Caribbean statement and advocacy strategy to ensure that issues surrounding the topic are fully addressed in the post-2015 framework.

Stressing that the equal participation of women in all spheres of political, economic and social life, and women???s economic empowerment was crucial for the achievement of gender equality, Mr. Blackett recommended that the framework should set a specific goal and should allow women to be involved in decision-making processes.

He pointed out that although women now have more access to education and work, and have an opportunity to participate in elective government, they continue to be threatened by acts of violence and constraints on socio-economic mobility.

The Social Care Minister, therefore, suggested that: ???The new framework should also address the barriers to women???s full economic participation and access to financial and productive resources, including women???s access to land, resources, knowledge and technology, as well as property and inheritance rights and for decent work.???

Mr. Blackett also indicated that there should be some discussion on the implementation of strategies to address the issues of poor women, as this would have some impact on their families, and by extension, the development of countries within the region.

???It is generally agreed that poverty is one of those issues which threaten the development of a country. This is because poverty is associated with high levels of dependency ???[and] the issue of high dependency ratios in poor households, especially female headed households, is a matter of concern???,??? he stated.

Additionally, the Minister pointed out that the policies and initiatives that were agreed on by regional governments should aim to empower the most marginalised and excluded people in an effort to transform the social landscape of the region. However, he noted that such transformation could not happen without the underlying causes of gender inequality and removing the barriers to women???s empowerment being tackled.


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