St. Kitts and Nevis Has Come a Long Way in Protecting Women’s Right

(ZIZ News) – St. Kitts and Nevis has come a long way in observing women’s rights and promoting gender equality.

That is the view of the Director of Gender Affairs, Etsu Bradshaw-Caines who appeared on ZIZ’s Upfront this week.

Bradshaw-Caines’ comments came ahead of the observation of International Women’s Day on Sunday March 8th.

“We are doing what we need to do, looking at it from the legal point of view. We have signed on to the various conventions…we ensure that our country Gender Assessment, it was recently completed in 2014 because we do a lot of analysis of ourselves; analyse what we are doing, how we are we working as a community to ensure that there are equal rights especially for our women. And quite recently too, we have even reviewed and revamped our Domestic Violence Act; we have the Equal Pay Act,” she said.

She added that her team has made significant progress in helping teenage mothers in the Federation.

“We have our programme for teen mothers because you know over the past, over the years, that if a teen or a person in school got pregnant, normally the dad if he was in school, the boys would be able to go back to school but the mothers had to drop out and that’s one of the best practices that we have here. We continue in our Ministry to advocate, we continue to raise awareness and we do this through various means, using all types of media, social media, we have conversations. I come to ZIZ as much as I can so we continue and I think we have come very far in St. Kitts,” she explained.

Bradshaw-Caines said she is pleased to see the number of women taking up high profile roles in St. Kitts and Nevis.

She said, “If you look at our women, the majority of our single-headed households, the heads of the single-headed households are women. So women own homes. The majority of Permanent Secretaries in the civil service are women; the majority of Directors, including myself, we are women okay; it is known that women are doing very well in education so we have come very far.”

Just recently, at the swearing-in ceremony of the new Cabinet, the Hon. Wendy Phipps was announced as Minister of State within the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender Affairs and Social Services.

The theme for this year’s observance of International Women’s Day is “Make It Happen”.

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