Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 22, 2019 (SKNIS): In order to take action to address the urgent need for greater women’s empowerment, some 55 organizations worldwide, including St. Kitts and Nevis, signed the Declaration on Gender Responsive Standards and Standards Development on May 09, 2019.
Director of the St. Kitts-Nevis Bureau of Standards (SKNBS), Stuart Laplace, was present in Geneva, Switzerland to sign the document.
According to a press release by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), “women are widely under-represented in developing the standards that affect so many areas of our lives, from the infrastructure on which economies depend, to the products we consume every day and the technologies needed to address a wide range of sustainability challenges.” It continued that “many of these standards do not adequately address how women and men may be affected differently.”
Mr. Laplace stated that it was imperative that St. Kitts and Nevis sign the declaration to show its solidarity with women and to show that women are taken into consideration when adopting and developing standards. “There must be no bias against women,” he said.
Signatories include international standards bodies such as International Organization for Standardization (ISO), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International, regional standards bodies, covering Africa, Europe and South Asia, and national standards bodies from all world regions, including Britain, India, Thailand, Canada, Germany, Spain, Mexico, Senegal, Morocco.
The press release stated that by signing the declaration, which was developed at UNECE, “standards bodies pledge to create and implement gender action plans.” The objective of this is to support more “gender-balanced and inclusive standards development processes, and to strengthen the gender-responsiveness of standards themselves, including by conducting gender-based analysis for the development or revision of all standards. They also commit to tracking progress, collecting and disseminating relevant data, success stories and good practice.”
As part of their action plans, commitments made by signatory bodies include ISO’s commitment to start collecting and presenting gender-disaggregated data on participation in its committees and governance bodies and to develop guidelines to help technical committees develop gender responsive standards. Also, IPQ, the standards body of Portugal, has committed to partner with the national Commission for Equality in Labour and Employment, and the Icelandic Standardization body, for the elaboration of a Portuguese Standard on Equal Wage. In addition, the Dominican Republic commits to increasing the participation of NGOs representing the interests of women in the development of standards.