Charlestown-Nevis-A brief but significant ceremony, effectively served to launch a gender sensitization and awareness workshop, which is sponsored by the BASIC NEEDS TRUST FUND (BNTF) and hosted by the Department of Gender Affairs on Nevis.

The ceremony took place on Tuesday 10th August at the Red Cross headquarters, located on Chapel Street.

The opening ceremony was ably chaired by Mr. Dwayne Maynard who is an employee of the Gender Affairs Division of the Social Services Department and prayer was effectively done by Gender Affairs Coordinator, Miss Lorraine Archibald.

Brief remarks were delivered by Ms. Selia Christopher, who is the Director of Gender Affairs in St.Kitts. She pointed out that the workshop became a reality through the successful coordination and partnership with many stakeholders. It was sponsored by the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF).

She told the participants that their presence was an indication that they support the work of both the Ministries and departments.

She indicated to them that gender sensitization is about changing behaviour and noted that it helps people to examine attitudes and beliefs and to question the realities they thought they knew.

She pointed out that the objectives of the workshop were as follows:

  • Provide the society with a better understanding of gender
  • Improve gender main streaming in the public sector
  • Enable the private sector to address and provide improved reporting on gender based issues

She further stated that the program should help to lead to a realization of a gender equitable society.

She also apologized for the absence of her Permanent Secretary, Ms. Janelle Lewis.

Ms. Danielle La Place-Executive officer at the Gender Affairs division then did an overview of the program.

She stated that the program aims to address gender issues within the federation and noted that gender inequality does not benefit the individual; the community nor the development of the country as it can lead to losses in economic efficiency and effectiveness

‘Gender equality leads to economic growth and poverty reduction,’ she stated emphatically.

She indicated that the workshop was intended to be a capacity building exercise which will serve to empower the participants and help them to initiate their roles as gender focal points in their various ministries.

She stated that her Ministry will also provide public education forums and deliver training in the private and civil society.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social development, Mr. Keith Glasgow, in making brief remarks, quoted James N Hensley as saying: ‘Gender refers to masculinity and femininity. You inherit your sex but you learn your gender as you are socialized into specific behaviours and attitudes…. A device by which society controls its members.’

He noted that there is no proportional representation in terms of gender and politics in the federation and stated that the purpose of the course is to train technical officers as gender focal points throughout various Government ministries.

According to him, the workshop would serve to focus on such issues as gender equality and gender equity; sexual harassment; violence against women and pointed out that there is a huge difference between gender equality and gender equity.

He commended BNTF; The federal department of gender Affairs and the Nevis Gender Affairs division, for collaborating in such a timely and worthwhile endeavour.

One of the participants, Mr. Anselm Caines, delivered the vote of thanks in his usual sanguine manner and noted that the ‘diversity of representation is significant of the seriousness taken by the various agencies.’

The workshop is set to conclude on Friday 12th August.

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