Women talk: Minister of State, Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development Raziah Ahmed and permanent secretary in the Ministry Sandra Jones during the National Consultation to establish the national commission for women’s empowerment and gender equity on Tuesday at City Hall, San Fernando Auditorium. PHOTO: INNIS FRANCIS

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One third of households headed by women

By Sandhya Santoo sandhya.santoo@trinidadexpress.com

SAN FERNANDO

The Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development yesterday
began a series of public consutlations on the proposed National
Commission for Women's Empowerment and Gender Equity.
The launch was held at the San Fernando City Hall auditorium and
was addressed by Minister in the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child
Development Raziah Ahmed.

Ahmed said that although women are assuming leadership roles,
there is a greater need for women to participate in governance at all levels.

She said that women's empowerment is cruical as 33 per cent of households are headed by women.

The Commission, she said, already exists within the Commonwealth and there are patterns and guides which can be followed for the empowerment and equity of women to be transferred within Trinidad and Tobago.
She said that the State is working to introduce a gender responsive budgeting which means that the State will allocate money for developmental projects so that women would have a fair share in gaining jobs, with education, housing and social services.

Ahmed said that legislation will continue to protect the rights of women and girls. She said that empowering women is a means to addressing the needs of society where it is most required since "women understand many things that the traditional male leadership has never understood or have chosen to neglect sometimes" .

Ahmed said the consultations were critical to address the concerns of women within the nation.

She said that some critical issues which needs to be addressed is the rise of sexual abuse, forced sexual activity and initiation within the Caribbean, according to a 2013 publication by United Nations FDA.
Ahmed said that the State has planned to set up the Commission by first setting up a committee comprising of several ministries and NGOs, hosting a national public consultation to gather the views and opinions of society and women, and then taking a proposed draft which would be taken to Cabinet and Parliament for further debate.
Consultations have been planned in Port of Spain and Tobago.

THE FACTS: The proposed National Commission for Women's Empowerment and Gender Equity will be an independent statutory body appointed by the President under an Act of Parliament and mandated to seek the interest of women and girls in Trinidad and Tobago. Similar commissions exist in Guyana, Belize, India and Canada.
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