Information Officer I
Ministry of Health and Social Development
Vornicia's House of Commerce, Long Bush
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
E-mail Address: FRandall@gov.vg
Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley says implementing gender focal points in every statutory body and commission is one of the most effective ways of achieving gender equality, equity, and empowerment of women within the Territory.
Honourable Wheatley was addressing a Gender Focal Points meeting with heads and representatives of the various Statutory Boards and Commissions organised by the Office of Gender Affairs.
Honourable Wheatley said, “One of the main objectives of having Gender Focal Points within these sectors is to help us identify gender issues in the workplace and bring them to the attention of the Human Resources Department and the Office of Gender Affairs.”
The meeting served as a starting point for statutory boards/bodies to identify and nominate suitable staff members to serve as the gender focal points. The person chosen is expected to play a significant role in achieving a gender perspective in the various Commissions and Statutory Boards.
Honourable Wheatley said, “This perspective will assist in ensuring that equal opportunities, the reduction of discriminatory practices and the implementation of proper gender-related policies are addressed. If done correctly, we can join other regional countries and international bodies in promoting gender quality and equity.”
The meeting was facilitated by the Gender Affairs Co-Ordinator Miss Patricia Hackett and focused on promoting gender equality and equity through a multi-sectoral approach.
Miss Hackett said, “The stakeholders' meeting was important to start the gender and development conversation in every sector; as the Office of Gender Affairs seeks to partner with key stakeholders to incorporate a gender perspective in their programmes and projects - known as "gender mainstreaming". This will help eliminate gender inequities and inequalities in the workplace and by extension the Territory.”
The session followed a Gender Focal Points workshop held last week for public service workers who were selected as Gender Focal Points for their respective organisations and departments. Gender Focal Points are said to be change agents designated within an institution or organisation to monitor and stimulate greater consideration of gender equality issues in daily operations.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development through the Office of Gender Affairs hopes to achieve goals as it relates to gender equality and equity as outlined in the Virgin Islands National Sustainable Development Plan: Vision 2036.
Under this plan a large focus is being placed on "gender mainstreaming to promote the economic, social, cultural and political empowerment of women towards advancing gender equality".
Vision 2036 also acknowledges that the National Policy for Gender Equity and Equality remains a priority with the focus on the elimination of gender inequalities such as gender-based violence in all forms.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development through the Office of Gender Affairs remains committed to promoting gender equality and equity in all areas of the Virgin Islands community.