Minister of of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo

Barbados will host the Ninth Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting (WAMM) in June 2010.

This disclosure has come from Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, who said a team from the Commonwealth Secretariat would visit the island in May 2009 to firm up plans for the conference.

The Commonwealth Ministers are responsible for gender and women’s affairs and influence decisions and policies affecting women and men at the national level. These meetings are held triennially and the eighth one was held in Uganda in 2007, under the theme “Financing Gender Equality for Development and Democracy”.

Dr. Byer Suckoo noted that while the theme for the 2010 summit was yet to be selected, issues of domestic violence, financing women’s activities and more women assuming leadership roles might be addressed. She added that several of the delegates who participated in the recent meetings she attended in New York were keen to examine the impact of the economic crisis on gender.

“Participants are eager to find out what is the role of women in, and through this economic crisis,” she stated, while expressing hope that this topic would be placed on the agenda.

The Minister recently attended the Commonwealth Gender Plan of Action Monitoring Group forum, the annual Consultation of Commonwealth Heads of National Women’s Machineries and the 53rd Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

Stressing that the meetings were important, Dr. Byer Suckoo said: “They always help to refocus leadership…in terms of the things we need to do to empower men and women to assist them with the various challenges they face… We also learn of the best practices and meet the right players in the arena.”

She added that participants were also informed about new projects which would benefit countries, such as Barbados.

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