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Fired Verna releases her Gender Policy draft

By CAROL MATROO Wednesday, February 20 2013

SACKED Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development Verna St Rose-Greaves yesterday released a National Policy on Gender Equality and Development – Draft Working Document, which she was working on when she was removed last June in a Cabinet reshuffle, after just one year on the job.

In a letter sent to Newsday, St Rose-Greaves said she released the last draft document which she was privy to because it had now become, “painful in the extreme for me to participate in what seems to be a stalemate and conspiracy of silence.”

The former minister believes a good enough fight was not put up for a Gender Policy set out to address such issues as murders, mutilation and murder of women, abuse of children, neglect in the health sector and disregard for the elderly.

The National Policy on Gender Equality and Development was designed to achieve gender equality and advanced national development and was consistent with Government’s development strategy outlined in the, “Framework for Sustainable Development”

The policy addressed such issues as domestic and family life; health and well-being; education; literacy and human capital development; autonomy, safety and security; macro-economy and trade; labour and employment; poverty alleviation ; agriculture and food security; climate change and natural resource management and; vulnerable groups (youth, elderly, disabled).

The policy stated while the worst forms of discrimination against women have been eliminated in Trinidad and Tobago, gender inequality and negative gender stereotypes persist and new challenges have emerged.

It added that despite their active involvement in political processes, women have not attained equal participation in politics, governance or corporate decision-making. Gender-based violence such as domestic violence, rape and other forms of sexual abuse, and sexual harassment at the workplace constrained women’s enjoyment of personal safety and liberty.

The document noted that over the last 20 years, there were noticeable trends in boy’s educational under-achievement which may limit their participation in the labour market as well as national and community life.

Gender norms also limit the range of choices and opportunities for men and boys.

Also, many men were still not equal partners in housework, child care and family life, deficiencies when , combined with other social inequalities may cause some young men to be pulled into webs of anti-social behaviour including violence, substance abuse and crime.

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