Belize
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A National Gender Equality Index is Launched

May 25, 2023

A National Gender Equality Index is Launched

Late last year, the 2021-2030 National Gender Policy was launched. It focused on six areas, including health, education, wealth and employment creation, gender-based violence, women in power and decision making and organizational system strengthening. It is to ensure equality and equity for all, especially for women and girls.  Fast track to today, public and private sector stakeholders are collaborating to launch a national gender equality index to help inform policy and more. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

Duane Moody, Reporting

501 Hub was the location for the launch of a national gender equality index. The survey will measure gender disparities in economic and social life and policymaking toward advancing gender equity and equality.

Dolores Balderamos-Garcia

Dolores Balderamos-Garcia, Minister of Human Development & Families

“In preparing the new iteration of our national gender policy, we remember the main areas of concern. First of all, shelter and safety and security – think we have to put that one at the very top – for our girls and our women. We recall the horrible femicide, murder of the young lady in the Belmopan area, you know. So at the very top of the list in looking at our national gender policy: safety, shelter, security. So we need to measure that and we need to make sure that we can know where we are. Second on the list, I think we can say health. The issue of health is so exceedingly important. After that we have education. I would like to see more, much more early childhood education and preschool attendance. We have to take the lessons from COVID and bring the online education to all our Belizean students and the earlier we can start with that education of our children the better. And of course, going right up, bringing our men more into the education system. And of course we know that even though more women are going to high school and going on to tertiary education, we still have difficulties in tersm of employment and the earning power of women.”

The US Embassy in Belize is supporting the initiative. Ambassador Michelle Kwan was the keynote speaker at the launch.

Michelle Kwan

Michelle Kwan, US Ambassador to Belize

“Seeing the synergy of the importance of statistical data to understand the disparity and the gender gaps of this country and making sure there is a measurement of progress for women’s equality.”

The Statistical Institute of Belize will serve as the repository of the data collected from the survey and will include collaboration from various agencies, including public and private sector organizations. Leading the charge is the National Women’s Commission.  Executive Director Michelle Irving speaks of the importance of the national gender equality index.

Michelle Irving

Michelle Irving, Executive Director, National Women’s Commission

“We cannot do this work in isolation; we need to come together. While we may not agree on everything, I am sure we have more in common than not. So it is important to highlight collaboration. The process is also important for us to identify how we will go about doing this measurement. What will we measure first, why is this important, what do policymakers need to have information on to ensure that then we are making the right decisions.”

Rossana Briceño

Rossana Briceño, Special Envoy for Families and Children

“This gender index is very important because it will also give the government of Belize a check and balance especially when it comes to PlanBelize and what they have in place for women. So I think it is going to be a very good indicator of where we are in the second year and half of the present day government.”

Duane Moody for News Five.