Women parliamentarians of Jamaica commit to collaborative actions to promote gender equality in legislative work


Women Parliamentarian Retreat in Jamaica

Women Parliamentarians, Senators & Councillors at the weekend Parliamentary retreat with Alisha Todd, Director General, ParlAmericas (Left) and Tonni Brodber, Representative, UN Women MCO – Caribbean (Bottom right). UN Women Photo/Dorian Clarke

Ocho Rios, Jamaica: On December 3 and 4, 2022, women parliamentarians from both chambers and Parties, as well as local government representatives, with technical support from ParlAmericas, UN Women Multi-Country Office - Caribbean, the Bureau of Gender Affairs in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, and the Houses of Parliament, convened for a historic weekend training retreat.

The event was organised in response to a request for training by women parliamentarians in order to support their work to achieve inclusive and effective outcomes for their constituents and the continued implementation of the National Policy for Gender Equality (2011). The event also builds on efforts underway in the Parliament of Jamaica to establish a bi-cameral women’s caucus.

The meeting opened with statements by the Honourable Olivia Grange, OJ, CD, MP, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport and Deputy Leader of the House and Ms. Tonni Brodber, Representative, UN Women Multi-Country Office-Caribbean. The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Rosina Wiltshire, Gender and Development Specialist, to provide grounding for the discussions and inspiration on the crucial role of women parliamentarians in advancing gender equality.

Women Parliamentarian Retreat in Jamaica

Hon. Olivia Grange OJ, MP, CD, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sports. UN Women Photo/Dorian Clarke

Throughout the retreat, discussions were held on promoting women’s political participation, gender equality concepts in relation to legislative work, and ongoing gender equality initiatives in Jamaica supported by presentations by Mrs. Alicia Bowen-McCulskie, Programme Coordinator, Spotlight Initiative Jamaica and Mrs. Sharon Coburn Robinson, Principal Director, Bureau of Gender Affairs in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport. Dialogue also focused on opportunities for collaboration among women parliamentarians on priority issues that transcend politics such as gender-based violence including family violence and capacity building on applying a gender perspective in legislative work. The retreat ended with a presentation on gender-sensitive approaches to legislative review led by UN Women MCO-Caribbean with support from ParlAmericas.

The decision-makers in attendance reached consensus on the importance of trust and a commitment to honest communication and collaborative advocacy on issues specific to women and children in the legislative space; learning more about and prioritizing people-centred approaches in legislative work; and to hosting a follow-up meeting by March 2023.

Women Parliamentarian Retreat in Jamaica

Representative, UN Women MCO - Caribbean, Tonni Brodber facilitating a session with the participants on Day 1. UN Women Photo/Dorian Clarke

This activity was made possible with the support of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative and the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada. For more information about our work, see our respective websites and social media: ParlAmericas (website and Twitter); UN Women Caribbean (website and Twitter); and the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport (website and Twitter).