Bridgetown, 11 June 2022 (TDI): Canadian Foreign Minister, Mélanie Joly, took part in a panel discussion on women’s leadership.

A three-day program on Leadership for Good Governance and Social Transformation in the Caribbean was co-hosted by the Commonwealth Secretariat, UN Women, and Caribbean Women in Leadership.

Female leaders, as well as future politicians and political leaders from across the Caribbean, attended the event in Bridgetown, Barbados.

Experts in good governance and gender-responsive policies, as well as representatives from civil society, participated.

Participants discussed hurdles to women’s political participation, possibilities to enhance gender equality in legislative processes, and solutions for overcoming structural and institutional barriers to achieve equal participation of women in democratic processes.

Participants acknowledged that it was a critical step in developing influential lawmakers who will serve as champions for gender-responsive legislation, policies, governance, and development processes on a local and regional level.

UN Women

UN Women is a United Nations agency dedicated to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. The group, which was founded in 2010 to accelerate progress on women’s rights around the world, is a global champion for women and girls.

The United Nations Women’s initiatives are based on the fundamental idea that every woman has the right to a life free of violence, poverty, and discrimination, and that gender equality is a precondition for global development.

It is a UN Women program sponsored by and in conjunction with the European Union that aims to increase the number of women to lead and participate.

Women’s leadership and political participation

Women’s leadership and political participation are difficult at all levels, from the local to the global.

Women are underrepresented in political government, public service, the commercial sector, and academia, as well as in leadership roles.

This is despite their demonstrated leadership and change-agent talents, as well as their entitlement to participate equally in democratic governance.

“Women in every part of the world continue to be largely marginalized from the political sphere, often as a result of discriminatory laws, practices, attitudes, and gender stereotypes, low levels of education, lack of access to health care, and the disproportionate effect of poverty on women,” according to a 2011 UN General Assembly resolution on women’s political participation.

The UN Women’s leadership and participation programs are informed by a long history of international commitments to women’s representation.

Women’s right to participate in public life is upheld by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

For this purpose, they offer voter and civic education and sensitization campaigns on gender equality, as well as training for female political candidates to assist them to enhance their capacities.

UN Women works to guarantee that women have equal access to political arenas as voters, candidates, elected officials, and civil servants through legislative and constitutional reforms.

They engage with UN country teams and civil society on programs to ensure that elections respect women’s rights, especially the right to vote and campaign without fear of electoral violence.

The event ended with a reinvigorated commitment to gender equality.

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