Mauritius: International Women’s Day 2016 – Prime Minister Promises Electoral Reform to Ensure Better Women Representation in National Assembly

“The Nation has my commitment that there will be an electoral reform during the mandate of my present Government to ensure better women representation in the National Assembly.”

The statement was made by the Prime Minister, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, at the official ceremony organised by the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare to mark the International Women’s Day, celebrated on 8 March.

Representatives from the public and private sectors as well as civil society organisations were present at the event to reflect on the theme chosen this year: ‘Championing Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’.

The Prime Minister called for bold, innovative, decisive, sustained and collective actions to deliver successfully on the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – Goal 5 which focuses on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. “We must cement our commitments to empower women and girls; we must ensure that our future policies and strategies are shaped by a greater gender analysis,” he stressed.

According to Sir Anerood Jugnauth, a series of measures have been initiated to contribute towards the implementation of SDGs including goal 5. The measures to address gender equality as listed by the Prime Minister include new opportunities in terms of SME development where women will be key drivers of socio-economic endeavours; skilling and reskilling which will directly benefit women who wish either to start an economic activity or join the labour market; the revamping of Women Centres across the country into ‘Women Empowerment Centres’; and the strengthening of laws to deal with violence and abuse against women and children.

For her part, the Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs Marie-Aurore Perraud, underlined that women and girls continue to face a multitude of barriers to gender equality. “It is critical that we flag out some of the gender gaps in the field of education, health, employment, leadership and economy, that still undermine women’s and girls’ full potential,” she affirmed.

The Minister also reiterated the political commitment of Government to work towards a gender inclusive society. “Action is the only way forward. There can be no other substitute,” she averred.

It is noted that during the official ceremony, the ‘Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Award’ was launched. The Award, to be held on annual basis, is open to the private sector with a view of encouraging enterprises to demonstrate how far and how effectively their respective policies, programmes, projects, and activities are gender responsive. A cash prize of Rs 100,000 will be awarded to the best ‘Corporate Gender Champion’.

The official ceremony was followed by a national dialogue on ‘Championing Goal 5 of Sustainable Development Goals: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’. On that occasion, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Usha Chandnee Dwarka-Canabady, gave a presentation on the way to turn SDGs Gender Commitments into actions. Mrs Dwarka-Canabady thus proposed the following five-pronged strategy: create partnerships and agree on a way forward; stock taking on the existing gender equality framework; coordinate action by developing costed measurable and time bound action plans and strategies; mobilisation of fund through shared responsibilities; and create a follow-up mechanism at domestic level.

Source: All Africa