Concern about plight of unmarried women and children in Saint Lucia

Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia has called on female parliamentarians to provide better representation for unmarried women and children who are constantly disadvantaged.

The organization, which advocates on behalf of females, has said that unmarried women and children are constantly disadvantaged by institutional and legalized discrimination.

Raise Your Voice asserted in a statement that this discrimination is entrenched within the legislative, justice and social systems.

It observed that this country ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in October 1992 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in June of 1993.

However Raise Your Voice noted that to date, the local legislation which must be amended to ensure protection and equality for unmarried women and their children is yet to materialize.

The organization observed that at the same time, Saint Lucia continues to stand and shout at United Nations General Assembly meetings.

It said unmarried women and their children are to enjoy equality the OECS Family Law Bills must be enacted.

According to Raise Your Voice, there should be corresponding amendments to the Civil Code as regards to succession laws and the removal of references to illegitimate and legitimate children to achieve parity among all children.

“It is also imperative to amend the Affiliation Act to make child support dependent on means and not a stipulated Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) per month stipend -In 2016 this is outrageous,” the organization observed.

Raise Your Voice made reference to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; specifically goals 1. No Poverty, 2. Zero Hunger, 5. Gender Equality, 10. Reduced Inequalities and 16. Peace Justice and Strong Institutions.

It said he Government of Saint Lucia must take the necessary steps to create an environment where women and their children can grow to their full potential.

“These goals will not be realized if women continue to receive Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) to support a minor child for an entire month while the cost of basic food items continues to rise,” the group noted.