from left: Melvelyn Symonette (Dept. of Gender and Family Affairs), Joel Lewis (Permanent Secretary), Hon. Pia Glover- Rolle (Minister of State, Public Service), and Senator Erecia Hepburn-Forbes).

On Monday, 6th of March 2023, Minister of State for the Public Service, the Honourable Pia Glover- Rolle, delivered an official statement on behalf of CARICOM at the 67th annual Commission on the Status of Women held at the United Nation headquarters in New York.

Taking place during Women’s History Month and launching just two days before International Women’s Day, the Commission on the Status of Women allows for the global community to come together to discuss common international challenges, highlight region-specific gender issues, and take account of the progress made toward gender equality.

This year’s Commission is focused on the priority theme, “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.” Attendees include representatives from UN Member States, UN entities, and ECOSOC accredited non-governmental agencies.

Minister Glover-Rolle addressed attendees on regional plans for digital transformation and the ways that women and girls will play pivotal roles in this transformation.

“This digital transformation is providing new avenues for the economic empowerment of women and can contribute to the achievement of gender equality. With access to the Internet and skills to use digital technologies, they can pursue education and find better-paid jobs, start new businesses, promote and sell products in new markets, and access and exchange information, as well as network and increase participation in public life.”

She also highlighted the need for greater inclusivity in emerging digital fields, especially in regard to greater representation of women through increased opportunities and support.

“While ICT and STEM occupations are among the highest earners, there has been historic underrepresentation of women and girls. This is often a result of gender stereotyping in career choices. The CARICOM Girls in ICT Partnership Programme is focused on changing gender-specific expectations about professions, including by fostering female role models in STEM and ICTs.”

“Efforts are ongoing to integrate ICT studies and skills training into our formal education systems, including through capacity development for teachers. There is also need for re-skilling and up-skilling for women who are already in the job market so that they can have equal opportunities for promotions and higher earnings.”

In closing her statement, Minister Glover-Rolle emphasised the region’s commitment to “closing the gender digital divide” stating that CARICOM nations would “contribute to the economic and social empowerment of women and girls through improvements to women’s and girls’ digital skills, access to the internet and devices, and ensuring a safe and enabling online environment for them.”

The Minister of State for the Public Service is one of several government executives and officials present at the Commission on the Status of Women to represent The Bahamas and play a pivotal role in highlighting CARICOM’s priorities and policy solutions to address gender-based issues. The delegation’s agenda also includes a roundtable discussion on bridging the gender divide, which will be led by Minister Glover-Rolle.

In addition to the Minister of State, the Bahamian delegation includes Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Obediah Wilchcombe, Senator, the Hon. Dr. Erecia Hepburn-Forbes, Permanent Secretary, Joel Lewis, technical staff from the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, and Bahamian civil society leaders.

Minister Glover-Rolle applauded the robust participation of the Bahamian delegation, stating that she believes participation in international events such as this one ensures that the Caribbean makes its contributions felt at a global level.

“It is important that the voice of the Caribbean is heard at the United Nations,” said Minister Glover- Rolle. “Especially for major issues such as gender equality, it is critical that we play a role in international goal setting, policy development, and adding our inputs into the discussion on essential human rights.”

From: Bahamas Information Services


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