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Cayman Islands Government

Focus on Gender Affairs

Senior Policy Advisory for Gender Affairs Tammy Ebanks-Bishop (front row left) is pictured with staff of the Gender Affairs Division during an exchange visit in Trinidad and Tobago.

Senior Policy Advisor for Gender Affairs Tammy Ebanks-Bishop said that work to develop a gender training programme, public education tools and formulate policies for the Cayman Islands has been steadily progressing.

The Minister responsible for Gender Affairs, the Hon Juliana O'Connor-Connolly, JP, has also stated that the Ministry intends to move forward in the area of gender affairs by identifying three to four priority areas wherein specific gender training will be provided.

"We will organise public education efforts and provide generalised gender awareness training and analysis of the policies, operations and programmes within our Ministry," the Minister said.

"We expect that continued development of gender affairs for the Cayman Islands will lead to the establishment of a model Office of Gender Affairs, once the financial and human resources become available."

Against this background, Ms Ebanks-Bishop attended an exchange in Trinidad and Tobago last month to view how that country is pursuing its gender affairs programme.

The trip was entirely funded by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) sub-regional office for the Caribbean.

Following Cabinet's 2004 acceptance of a National Policy on Gender Equity and Equality, Ms. Ebanks-Bishop was appointed in September 2008 to provide analysis that would enhance gender mainstreaming efforts in policies and programmes.

In addition, she was to review regional models and advise government on establishing a local Gender Affairs Office.

"This exchange gave me an opportunity to learn from a Caribbean country that the World Economic Forum rates among the top 20 countries world-wide for narrowing the gender gap.

"The visit was most beneficial as I was able to interact with staff at all levels and learn from their experiences in gender mainstreaming at the programming and policy level," Ms Ebanks-Bishop said.

Explaining that the exchange enabled her to be posted in Trinidad and Tobago's Gender Affairs Division, she said she was able to observe its day-to-day operations.

"In addition, I was able to receive policy documents and training templates and visit community-based programmes geared at job-creation in non-traditional careers for women, gender training, and support for victims of domestic violence," she said.

Regarding other benefits, she noted that the exchange gave her a chance to see how the host country was meeting its obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979 and described as a bill of rights for women, CEDAW defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination.

Ms Ebanks-Bishop explained that like other United Kingdom Overseas Territories, the Cayman Islands Government has agreed to put local legislation in place to ensure that the CEDAW is extended here.

Minister O'Connor-Connolly also stated that she intends to bring the draft Prevention of Gender Discrimination Bill (2009) to the Legislative Assembly before the close of the year. This, she said, will enable CEDAW to be extended to the Cayman Islands.

For further information contact: Prudence Barnes