News on Sunday

International Women’s Day: Paving the way towards gender parity

On March 8, the world will be celebrating the International Women’s Day, in recognition for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. In this Special Report, we look at the place a woman occupies in contemporary Mauritian society and what lies ahead in terms of improving the lot of womenfolk. In essence, even though there have been many accomplishments till now, there is still a long way to go. Moreover, efforts undertaken have to take stock of the constant risk of stagnation or falling back as regards to gender parity. “Let us devote solid funding, courageous advocacy and unbending political will to achieving gender equality around the world. There is no greater investment in our common future,” UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon sent his message to the world. The 2016 theme for International Women’s Day is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.” The idea of this theme is to consider how to accelerate the 2030 Agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals, especially goal number five “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” and number four “Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.” The theme will also focus on new commitments under UN Women’s Step It Up initiative, and other existing commitments on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s human rights. Some key targets of the 2030 Agenda:
  • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes.
  • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education.
  • End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
  • Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
  • Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
  • 14th March: Women in Networking is organising a talk on “The role of women in Mauritius” in the collaboration with the University of Aberystwyth University in Quartier Militaire.
  • As from the 8th March, until April 1st, a series of activities will be organised by the Ministry of Gender Equality.
  • 18th March: Women in Networking in collaboration with Apollo Bramwell Hospital, there will be a talk on Women and health as from 17:30 at the private hospital in Moka.

Gender equality a reality in Mauritius?

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"12308","attributes":{"class":"media-image wp-image-20150 alignleft","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"241","height":"252","alt":"Loga-Virahsawmy"}}]]Loga Virahsawmy: “Several issues must be tackled” According to the former director of Gender Links Mauritius, the gender equality objective should have been attained in 2015. Loga Virahsawmy says that the theme chosen by the UN for this year’s International Women’s Day is a strong slogan. “However, it will all depend how we will make it become a reality. It will be interesting to know what strategies will our government and the Minister of Gender Equality implement to attain the objective by year 2030. Many, including Gender Links, are working to attain this goal and also to eliminate violence in the country,” she says. Loga Virahsawmy appeals, as board member of Gender Links Mauritius, to all men and women of Mauritius to work hand in hand to attain this objective. “Several issues must be tackled to make gender equality become a reality – for example, many single household headers are women. Thus, spheres like women and poverty, women and the environment, women and politics among others are utmost important matters to look at.” Loga Virahsawmy also trusts that the government and NGOs working in different fields must work together. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"12309","attributes":{"class":"media-image wp-image-20151 alignleft","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"250","height":"272","alt":"Jane-Ragoo"}}]]Jane Ragoo: “Mindsets must change” Trade unionist Jane Ragoo says that she is glad that the theme of the International Women’s Day goes in line with the fifth goal adopted by UN Member States in the 2030 Agenda. “The set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice and tackle climate change by 2030 are important. However, I believe that the 5th goal of the SDGs which is gender equality, which is also the theme of this year’s International Women Day celebration, must not be tackled in isolation. For example, we must meet with the first goal, which is to end poverty, so as to be able to achieve gender parity by 2030. The eight goal, which is to promote decent work and economic growth, is also utmost important to ensure gender equality. Why is it that only on the 8th March on the celebration of the International Women Day that we will hear all about gender equality? What happens after that?” Jane Ragoo believes that the practice of having women committees within political parties must be eliminated. “We at the CTSP, do not have any women congress. I believe that the feminine wing of political parties is a form of passive discrimination. Women must be part of all committees. Today, they do not need to make their voices heard only through feminine congress. Mindsets must change. There is not need for a men or women congress.” Jane Ragoo trusts that all these aspects must be tackled so as to end gender inequality.
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