Coverage: Executive Director in the Caribbean

Date: 31 October 2016

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is in the Caribbean region for the first time this week, making stops in Barbados, followed by Jamaica. A key emphasis of the Executive Director’s visit will be on the importance of human security and safety of women and girls in the region.

2 November

From left: Patricia Francis, interim head, coordinator of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment; UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka; Sherie Cox, UN Women Programme Associate Jamaica; Shirley Pryce, President, Jamaica Household Workers Union, Caribbean Domestic Workers Network and UN Women Civil Society Advisory Group; Hon. Minister Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport; Imani Duncan-Price, former Senator; Luiza Carvalho, Regional Director of UN Women in the Americas and the Caribbean; Tonni Brodber Head of Office a.i. UN Women's Multi-Country Office Caribbean and Taitu Heron, UN Women National Programme Coordinator for Jamaica. Photo: UN Women/Jean-Pierre Kavanaugh
From left: Patricia Francis, interim head, coordinator of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment; UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka; Sherie Cox, UN Women Programme Associate Jamaica; Shirley Pryce, President, Jamaica Household Workers Union, Caribbean Domestic Workers Network and UN Women Civil Society Advisory Group; Hon. Minister Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport; Imani Duncan-Price, former Senator; Luiza Carvalho, Regional Director of UN Women in the Americas and the Caribbean; Tonni Brodber Head of Office a.i. UN Women's Multi-Country Office Caribbean and Taitu Heron, UN Women National Programme Coordinator for Jamaica. Photo: UN Women/Jean-Pierre Kavanaugh

To begin her second day in Jamaica, the Executive Director attended a celebratory walk at the famed Emancipation Park in Kingston Jamaica to celebrate the Jamaican Government’s recent Ratification of ILO C189 on Decent Work. The walk was organized by the Jamaican Household Workers Union.

1 November

On Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka's first day in Jamaica, she met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, and participated in a town hall on women’s leadership, economic empowerment, sustainable development and gender equality.

Jamaica's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Senator The Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith with UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on 1 November. Photo: UN Women/Jean-Pierre Kavanaugh
Jamaica's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Senator The Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith with UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on 1 November. Photo: UN Women/Jean-Pierre Kavanaugh

In a meeting with Jamaica's Minister of Culture, Gender Affairs, Entertainment and Sport, Honourable Olivia Grange, the Executive Director commended the Government of Jamaica for passing progressive laws. UN Women is looking forward to assisting the Government in the implementation of these laws.

“We also want to start a conversation about women’s economic empowerment, so that we can identify areas of collaboration and support,” the Executive Director said.

Jamaica's Minister of Culture, Gender Affairs, Entertainment and Sport, Honourable Olivia Grange with UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on 1 November. Photo: UN Women/Jean-Pierre Kavanaugh
Jamaica's Minister of Culture, Gender Affairs, Entertainment and Sport, Honourable Olivia Grange with UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on 1 November. Photo: UN Women/Jean-Pierre Kavanaugh

"The Government of Jamaica is committed and this partnership will ensure that we can achieve the objectives of UN Women. Economic empowerment of women is a critical area, and we are going to work towards achieving this goal," Ms. Grange said.

Author and entrepreneur Tamika Williams with UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on 1 November. Photo: UN Women/Jean-Pierre Kavanaugh
Author and entrepreneur Tamika Williams with UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on 1 November. Photo: UN Women/Jean-Pierre Kavanaugh

The Executive Director also attended a lunch with representatives of civil society and government partners. Tamika Williams, author, entrepreneur and survivor of gender-based violence presented Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka with a copy of her book during the event.

Professor Verene Shepherd, head of the Regional Institute for Gender and Development Studies of the University of the West Indies with UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka during a town hall discussion on 1 November. Photo: UN Women/Jean-Pierre Kavanaugh
Professor Verene Shepherd, head of the Regional Institute for Gender and Development Studies of the University of the West Indies with UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka during a town hall discussion on 1 November. Photo: UN Women/Jean-Pierre Kavanaugh

In the afternoon, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka participated in a town hall on women's leadership, economic empowerment, sustainable development and gender equality at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. The discussion was moderated by Professor Verene Shepherd, head of the Regional Institute for Gender and Development Studies of the University of the West Indies.

Participants in the town hall discussion at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus on 1 November. Photo: UN Women/Jean-Pierre Kavanaugh
Participants in the town hall discussion at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus on 1 November. Photo: UN Women/Jean-Pierre Kavanaugh

31 October

On her first day in Barbados, the Executive Director attended a roundtable discussion on “Partnerships for Gender Equality”, co-hosted by UN Women, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Caribbean Development Bank.

UN Women Executive Director at a roundtable discussion on data and gender equality in Barbados. Caption: Photo: UN Women/Ricardo Leacock
Executive Director attended a roundtable discussion on Partnerships for Gender Equality. Photo: UN Women/Ricardo Leacock

In October 2015, the CARICOM Standing Committee of Caribbean Statisticians had endorsed the CARICOM Gender Equality Indicators Model, which was developed in partnership with UN Women, and in consultation with the other development partners. The partnership initiative will develop a set of indicators to monitor the gender equality commitments in the Sustainable Development Goals, and as per the UN Global Set of Minimum Gender Indicators, identify, assess, measure and track the persistent gender equality concerns and disparities across the Caribbean region.

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, Senator Maxine McClean. Photo: UN Women/Ricardo Leacock
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, Senator Maxine McClean. Photo: UN Women/Ricardo Leacock

In her meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, Senator Maxine McClean, the Executive Director commended Barbados in its influential role in the CARICOM region in ensuring that gender equality gains are not lost. She also congratulated the Government for amending the Domestic Violence Act, in order to address gaps in the legislation and to strengthen the recourse of the police and courts to protect survivors.

The Executive Director meets with Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, the Honourable Steven Blackett. Photo: UN Women/Ricardo Leacock
The Executive Director meets with Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, the Honourable Steven Blackett. Photo: UN Women/Ricardo Leacock

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka also participated in a consultative session with judicial officials of the Supreme Court of Barbados on the development of a draft Gender Equality Protocol for Magistrates and Judges, led by the Chief Justice of Barbados, Sir Justice Marston Gibbs.  Caribbean Court of Justice and representatives from the High Commission of Canada and the Director of the JURIST Project also participated in the meeting. The proposed Gender Equality Protocol will assist judges and magistrates to adjudicate cases with a gender lens, and build their capacities to identify and address the social, economic and cultural circumstances that perpetuate gender-related human rights violations.

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka in a consultative session with judicial officials of the Supreme Court of Barbados. Photo: UN Women/Ricardo Leacock
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka in a consultative session with judicial officials of the Supreme Court of Barbados. Photo: UN Women/Ricardo Leacock
Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka pins Chief Justice Marston Gibson to recognize him as a HeForShe. Photo: UN Women/Ricardo Leacock
Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka pins Chief Justice Marston Gibson to recognize him as a HeForShe. Photo: UN Women/Ricardo Leacock

On the evening of 31 October, the Executive Director participated in a cultural event where several Caribbean artists performed in support of UN Women’s call for action, “Step It Up for Gender Equality”. Through song and poetry, renowned Barbadian artists, Michael (Mikey) Mercer, Terencia (TC) Coward and Adisa (AJA) called for action to end violence against women and girls and emphasized on the value of women’s equal participation in the development of the region.

The evening’s performances marked the climax of the Executive Director’s first official visit to Barbados. Addressing an audience of Ministers, members of the judiciary, academia, development partners, artists and civil society partners, Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said, “We want to diversify the voices as much as we can because this issue is complex, [there] is not a simple answer. We need a comprehensive response.”

UNiTE artist and HeForShe Champion Michael “Mikey” Mercer performing his song “Turn up the Love” at the Step It Up for Gender Equality event on 31 October, Barbados. Photo: UN Women/Ricardo Leacock
UNiTE artist and HeForShe Champion Michael “Mikey” Mercer performing his song “Turn up the Love” at the Step It Up for Gender Equality event on 31 October, Barbados. Photo: UN Women/Ricardo Leacock

Since 2010, 45 leading musicians across the Caribbean have been trained as spokespersons for the UN Secretary-General’s campaign, UNiTE to End Violence against Women, under the coordination of UN Women. Today, they are powerful advocates for ending violence against women and girls in the region.