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Equal rights way forward

Andrew Browne, [email protected]

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DELEGATES to the Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers’ Conference have been told that they could not begin to talk about economic recovery without having gender democracy.
Chairperson of the Commonwealth Foundation, Madam Simone de Comarmond, told the conference that participation without equal access to finance and markets would not bring transformation.
“Women’s full contribution to development of the economy can only be tapped when they can participate as equal partners with men in all aspects of life,” she said.
The three-day conference, with the theme Gender Issues In Economic Crisis: Recovery And Beyond, Women As Agents Of Transformation, ended yesterday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
The chairperson said it was important to continue to advocate for equality, not through confrontation, but in the belief that equal partnership was the best path to progress.
Pointing to an area that required more work in the fight for equality, de Comarmond cited a recent UNESCO report that revealed that there were still nearly 137 million illiterate youth in the world, and three-fifths of those were girls.
Stating that strides had been made in women’s health, she believed that a large number of maternal deaths could have been avoided.
“Is it acceptable that in these days of progressive medicine and health care, at least one-third of all pregnant women in developing countries receive no health care during their pregnancies and deliver away from health facilities?” she asked. (CT)