Gender and Zika: What you need to know


Kingston, Jamaica: UN Women and UNFPA, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, hosted a Town Hall dialogue on the Gender Dimensions of the Zika Virus in Kingston, Jamaica.

Gender and Zika
UN Women MCO Caribbean - Representative Christine Arab addressing a public forum in Kingston, Jamaica on Gender and Zika. Photos: UN Women/Kristina Godfrey

Moderated by Dr. Michael Abrahams, a renowned social commentator and OBGYN, the panel spoke to a diverse range of issues. From detailed discussions on the virus, its consequences and prevention of the its spread, including the reality of sexual transmission of the virus by men to their partners; to social dialogue on the challenges and opportunities women and men – including teenagers - face in Jamaica when it comes to negotiating safe sex and family planning.

Activists and legal experts spoke to the legal frameworks in Jamaica related to age of consent and age of access to needed contraceptives, and the risks this poses to Zika’s impact among teenage population; to the family planning and contraceptive choices which women and men have, the inequitable relations between women and men which can lead to lack of choice on the side of the woman in terms of pregnancy and use of contraceptives; to the leadership role women and men must play in tackling the spread of this vector-borne virus.

UN Women and UNFPA expresses its appreciation to Dr. Sonia Copeland/Ministry of Health, Dr. Tarleen Malcolm/PAHO, Dr. Michael Abrahams/Moderator, Ms. Annika Gray/legal expert, Mrs. Shakira Maxwell/Caribbean DAWN for their excellent and informative presentations. Special thanks also to Latoya Nugent and WE-Change for their support in getting information on the Town Hall out to the general public.