Department of Gender Affairs Tasked with Raising Awareness of Gender-Based Issues, Says Director Celia Christopher
Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 12, 2019 (SKNIS):. The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is committed to the prosperity of every family in the Federation, especially as the family unit is the bedrock of the Kittitian and Nevisian society. Against this backdrop, the Department of Gender Affairs is focused on its roles and responsibilities aimed at promoting human rights and resolving gender-based issues including gender inequality.
This was according to Celia Christopher, Director of the Department of Gender Affairs, while appearing on the Government’s weekly radio and television programme “Working for You”, on Wednesday, September 11.
“The role of the Department of Gender Affairs is one of raising awareness of gender related issues. It is about advocacy and it is about making referrals on behalf of the people, of the vulnerable groups and so on,” said Mrs. Christopher.
Director Christopher noted that the department is relatively small, consisting of five persons who work tirelessly to carry out its mandate, as well as implement programmes. The current programmes of the department include but are not limited to: working with men and boys which involves the advancement and empowerment of men; advancement and empowerment of women; Project Viola Teen Mothers Programme; gender-based violence and working with incarcerated women.
The director used the occasion to briefly explain the difference between gender and sex noting that ever so often people misunderstand the concepts.
“Gender really speaks to the socially constructed behaviour of men and women including cultural, and sex is understood as the biological aspect of gender. So, people use them interchangeably and do not understand which is which,” she said.
The Department of Gender Affairs is a unit within the Ministry of Community Development, Gender Affairs & Social Services. Its mission is to “Ensure that all persons, regardless of gender, are equal partners in shaping the Economic, Educational Political, Cultural and Social Development of the Federation”.
St. Kitts and Nevis has made significant strides in gender development and mainstreaming since Independence in 1983.