GIS – 10 December 2013: We are in the process of finalising the draft National ‘Women Council Bill that will further strengthen the role of women’s associations and the regional committees under which they are registered. The aim is to empower women to achieve gender equality, and enable the associations and committees to evolve positively with a view to better respond to the needs and contemporary challenges as regards women’s issues’.
The Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs Mireille Martin, made the announcement at the Grant Donation ceremony held yesterday at Octave Wiehe Auditorium, Réduit. The Grant Donation Ceremony is an annual event organised by the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare where each of the 1,130 registered women’s associations receives a grant of Rs 2,000 as a token recognition of the role they play in keeping women mobilised and aware of issues that are relevant to their well-being and their empowerment. The four regional Committees under which the women’s associations are registered were granted for their part Rs 5,000 each.
In her address, Mrs Martin recalled that the National Women Council, set up in 1985, was instrumental, not only in the setting up of women’s associations throughout the island, but also in providing to those associations a platform whereby they could make their voices heard on issues that are of interest to them. However, said the Minister, it is now time for a new version of the legislation, to reflect the changes in society and to respond quickly to complex issues.
According to Minister Martin, the new law will harmonise the structure, operations and functions of women’s associations as well as increase the participation of women’s associations in drafting and driving the policy orientation of the Ministry. ‘Establishment of district-wise alliance of women associations, regulatory compliance, discipline and achievements will be the key aspects guiding women’s association’s under the new law’, added the Minister.
In that context, Mrs Martin urged women’s associations to review the way they operate in a bid to be more effective, result-oriented and make a significant difference in the lives of the Mauritian women. ‘Our overall objective is for a more just and equal society as regards gender where women’s rights and issues are rightly addressed and where solidarity among women prevails’, she stated.
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