The decision of Government to come up with a legislation of Gender Equality demonstrates clearly that we are set to leave no stone unturned to create further change for a gender-inclusive society as well as attaining the set targets of Agenda 2030, in particular, Goal 5 that speaks about 50-50 parity, said the Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs Roubina Jadoo-Jaunbocus, yesterday at the Gold Crest Hotel, in Quatre-Bornes.
The Minister was speaking at the opening of a consultative meeting on the elaboration of the Gender Equality Bill which will make provision for the attainment of equality between women and men as well as boys and girls. This legislation is meant to tackle structural and systematic issues that have acted and continue to act as barriers to women’s inclusion and participation in the social, economic and political domains of Mauritius, she said.
In her address Minister Jadoo-Jaunbocus recalled that legal remedies remain a sine qua non condition to ensure that women’s human rights are adhered to in toto and must be applied if the protection of women’s rights is to be improved. A number of countries have had recourse to Gender Equality Acts to ensure that both men and women enjoy fully their fundamental rights and Mauritius cannot afford to lag behind, she pointed out.
When we speak of gender equality, we are not talking of only the absence of non-discrimination, but it is above all, the equal enjoyment of rights, responsibilities and opportunities by men and women. It is about de facto equality which means substantive equality, she observed.
The Minister admitted that gender gaps still prevail in the social, economic and political spheres. She cited examples prevailing where the high unemployment rates for women compared to that of men; under-representation of women in boardrooms; women still having to balance their family responsibilities with their professional life; and, gender-based violence as a violation of women’s rights. On that score, Government has therefore deemed it necessary to come up with a legal framework on gender equality to address these issues, she added.
She listed out a number of landmarks, including legislations and policy measures that have contributed significantly in bringing about socio-economic reforms that uplifted the status of women in Mauritius. The far-sightedness and political will of successive Governments in place have yielded positive gains pertaining to women’s empowerment, she concluded.
The meeting was conducted by Mrs Winfred Luchima, European Union consultant, who has wide experience and expertise on gender-related legislative frameworks. She has been actively engaged in organising meetings and Focus Group discussions with a number of stakeholders so as to have inputs, views and recommendations for the drafting of the Gender Equality Bill.
During the meeting the consultant made presentations focused on the review of international and regional framework on gender equality; the legislative framework in Mauritius; and identified key gender equality issues.
Source: Government of Mauritius