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Brown knocks Gender Minister

Monday, May 27 2013

GENDER activist and president of the Network of NGOs Hazel Brown is disappointed with Gender, Youth and Child Development Minister Marlene Coudray over the National Gender Policy (NGP).

“History is being rewritten to include what people want to be included and leave out what we want left out,” Brown charged adding that she was disturbed when she attended the Ministry’s Open House, on May 17, and the Minister declared that the NGP was in front of the Finance and General Purposes (F&GP) committee of Cabinet and this was the furthest the NGP has ever gone in history.

Brown spoke last Wednesday at UWI, St Augustine’s Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS) public forum on the Draft National Policy on Gender Equality and Development.

The IGDS was responsible for drafting the 2004 National Gender Policy (NGP), and their aim was to educate the public on the issues surrounding the NGP.

Brown added that on July 29, 2007 the Cabinet minute 1931 declared the document to be made into a Green Paper. She referred to an article in the Government’s archives that said the Cabinet accepted the NGP draft on February 8, 2010. However, this policy was found to be inadequate, and was pulled before it could be adopted.

Brown said in 1990, the Government ratified the United Nation’s Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women and Girls (CEDAW). This agreement bound the government to a promise to provide equality and equity for women, and Brown said the NGP was the Government’s way of fulfilling that commitment. But she said the approval of the policy would go nowhere because the F&GP committee was where “you send a policy to die.”

Brown said when she sent an email to Minister of Finance Larry Howai to inquire about the progress of the policy, she reported Howai said the policy was not in font of the F&GP.

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