GIS - 23 May, 2019: A one-day workshop on “Women in Industry and Trade”, aimed at identifying existing gender gaps in the manufacturing and trade sectors and the means to address them, opened today at the Ravenala Attitude Hotel in Balaclava. The Minister of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection, Mr Ashit Kumar Gungah, was present.In his keynote address, the Minister stated that the concept of gender has to be properly understood as it permeates all policies and activities that are carried out in Mauritius be it on the social, economic, environmental or political fronts. A proper understanding will thus open avenues to new developmental projects which are related to women empowerment and eventually to social and economic progress, he added.
Mr Gungah lauded the unprecedented strides in empowering women in all spheres of life, especially at higher positions. Government, he remarked, has allocated funds to all Ministries to ensure that the gender mainstreaming thrust is supported through the implementation of different projects.
As regards the gender mainstreaming concept, Minister Gungah recalled that his Ministry has left no stone unturned to promote the concept among its employees as well as the operators in the business community. Several workshops, he highlighted, have been organised to that effect. They are: “Women in Business and Gender Mainstreaming” in May 2018 which served as a platform to encourage women to integrate the world of business by informing them about the available support services provided by the Government; and, “Gender mainstreaming” to provide insight on the concept so that it could be integrated in policy formulation and decision making.
The Minister further recalled that an opportunity to boost gender mainstreaming and motivate women to become entrepreneurs was provided on the occasion of the International Women’s Day this year. In fact, provision was made for a loan by the Development Bank of Mauritius up to a ceiling of Rs 500 000 at a fixed interest rate of 3%, not requiring a guarantee, to assist women to start a business, and allocation of 40% spaces in industrial zones to women entrepreneurs.
The workshop is helping in identifying gaps that prevail in the industry and trade sectors and charting out proper policies and action plans to address same. Participants are also brainstorming to come up with proposals about gender mainstreaming in their respective fields.
Several themes are on the agenda, namely: Why Gender matters in Industry and Trade; Identifying Gender Gaps in Industry and Trade; and Gender mainstreaming in Industry and Trade. The resource person is Ms Winnie Lichuma, Gender Expert from Kenya.
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