Press Release:– A team of experts on gender mainstreaming has ended an inception mission in Saint Lucia as the Government of Saint Lucia moves to ensure gender equality in its plans and strategies for Saint Lucia’s development.
The “Mainstreaming Gender Equality in Saint Lucia’s National Sustainable Development Plan Project” was conceptualized in 2011 after a country assessment was conducted by the Caribbean Development Bank. The project aims to address some of the deficiencies that were highlighted in that assessment; among them, gender imbalances, poor education achievement for men, inadequate employment and training and high incidence of single parents.
The Caribbean Development Bank gave a USD $115,000 grant to the Government of Saint Lucia to start the project in 2014 but was halted and resumed in 2017. The Project Coordinator Dr. Claudia Louis said that if we look at how many of the ministries and departments implement programs, gender is not given the type of priority that it deserves.
“In many cases it is left to chance that we have a programme, but there are not specifically any policies to indicate whether any of the genders are being disadvantaged. What the Gender Mainstreaming Project does is allow government to systematically address gender inequalities,” she said.
Partnering with the Caribbean Development Bank and the Government of Saint Lucia is Niagara College who emerged successful from three proposals considered from the shortlisted firms for this consultancy. Gender Education and Development Specialist at Niagara College, Kyla Pennie, said collecting data and having information about who their clients are is important for the planning process which is a key part of gender planning and analysis.
“We seek to support leaders and planners with knowledge and skills to practice gender planning in their work aligned with national frameworks and data indicators that line up with the global standard for gender equality and sustainable development.”
The Minister for Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development, Hon. Dr. Gale Rigobert said the initiative is not just about women but for men.
“We understand that development policies serve as a prescription for ensuring that there is social and economic advancement. We recognize that if we do not take into account the concerns of both men and women in crafting development policies, we may very well end up with policies that remain silent on some of the concerns that we have had for a little while now.”
The team of experts were in Saint Lucia for their inception mission from May 6 – 10, where they engaged in training exercises for officers of the Department of Gender Relations and public servants in various ministries, departments and agencies on gender analysis and gender inclusion in development planning.