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Contributions to Gender Bill

Before the Gender Equality Bill can become Law, it must receive the assent of the Governor and be published in the Cayman Islands Gazette. This is expected to occur before the commencement date, contained in the Bill, of January 31, 2012.

Members of the Legislative Assembly last week (Wednesday, September 14, 2011) passed a version of the Gender Equality Bill that incorporated feedback from community organisations and professional associations.

The Ministry of Gender Affairs spent the month of August working with the Attorney General's chambers to make amendments that would address certain concerns raised by various groups. Among the changes were: a commencement date of January 31, 2012; revised definitions of employer and sexual harassment; and an additional clause to address the issue of the liability for employers.

Gender Affairs Minister Mike Adam says the Ministry believed that it was important to show consideration for the views of various sectors of the community whose participation would be integral to the Law's successful implementation.

The Bill was also amended as a result of Government giving consideration to points raised during the debate in the Legislative Assembly. These amendments included only private households being given exemptions in regards to section 4(1) of the Bill which addresses recruitment practices.

Additional amendments include linking Sections 23 and 24 in order to clearly specify the independence and function of the Tribunal in hearing cases; removing the number of years of experience required for the Chairperson of the Gender Equality Tribunal; revising Section 26 that changes the tenure of members to be at the pleasure of the Governor-in-Cabinet; and adding an additional subsection to Section 29 that would include any other sufficient cause for which the Governor-in-Cabinet could remove a member of the Gender Equality Tribunal.

"The successful passage of this Bill will help us move forward and become a society where gender equality is both the expected and actual norm. The Ministry of Community Affairs, Gender and Housing believes that the outcome of this Bill will be an enhanced quality of life for us all and a brighter employment future for our daughters and sons," Minister Adam remarks.

He adds that it was important to acknowledge and respond to the concerns expressed by members of the legal and business community.

Before the Bill can become Law, it must receive the assent of the Governor and be published in the Cayman Islands Gazette. This is expected to occur before the commencement date, contained in the Bill, of January 31, 2012.

The next steps towards the implementing the Bill will be the launch of a public education campaign, and the establishment of the Gender Equality Tribunal.

Following the Bill's passage through the Legislative Assembly, Government will also now be able to make further representation to the United Kingdom to have the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) extended to the Cayman Islands.

(GIS)

For further information contact: Lennon Christian