GIS - 06 May, 2019: The Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA) has launched, today, a five-day regional workshop on “Advancing Gender Equality in Customs Administration” at the World Customs Organisation Regional Training Centre (WCO-RTC) in Mer Rouge. The Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Local Government and Outer Islands, Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo, was the Chief Guest on that occasion.
The workshop, held from 06 to 10 May 2019, is the second workshop on “Advancing Gender Equality in Customs Administrations” and is being sponsored by the WCO through the financial support of the Finland ESA Project II. It is a follow up of the one held in Pretoria, South Africa from 28 May to 01 June 2019 and comprises a delegation of three resource persons including the Programme Manager of the Finland East and Southern Africa (ESA). Participants from nine different countries namely Eswatini, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe are also attending.
In her keynote address, the Vice Prime Minister lauded the initiative of the WCO and the MRA for hosting this workshop and expressed confidence that foreign participants will shed light on good practices within the customs department of their respective countries. The MRA, she added, is playing a keyrole in advancing gender equality through this workshop, thus showing that the country is moving beyond theory to action in the pursuit of gender equality.
Speaking about women empowerment, Mrs Jeewa Daureeawoo underlined that gender equality cannot be achieved if institutions do not fully assume their responsibilities with regards to upholding the principal of equality between men and women and if commitments are not turned into concrete measures. She further said that an opportunity to boost gender equality was provided since the adoption of goal five of the Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015, hence, making this workshop very strategic as a process for empowering women for the attainment of gender equality.
The Vice Prime Minister dwelt on the importance of understanding that gender issues are not women issues alone but rather, it is about the unequal power relation between men and women. Therefore, she stated that it is important that men play a bigger role during the workshop by doing away with patriarchal norms as well as gender insensitive laws, policies and programmes to the detriment of women.
As regards gender gaps, Mrs Jeewa-Daureeawoo highlighted the need to synergise efforts and work together to identify gender gaps in terms of policies, practices and institutional framework and to come up with appropriate actions to address shortcomings. They include: the role of women as leaders; less exposure and lack of opportunities to participate significantly to policy making and; under representation of women in decision-making.
The Vice Prime Minister expressed confidence that women empowerment will prevail if women’s abilities are acknowledged, women are given access to opportunities and resources and women are included in decision making and are provided with the ability to effect change within the customs sector. She urged the participants to maximise their contribution in the workshop so as to promote a gender equal based platform within the customs department.
For his part, the Director General of the MRA, Mr Sudhamo Lal, stated that the hosting of this five-day workshop aims to develop practical guidance and solutions for an effective and efficient adoption of the WCO toolkit for Gender Equality in Customs with the ESA Region.
He highlighted that with the advent of the Equal Opportunity Act of 2008, the MRA has, as required by the law, formulated an Equal Opportunity Policy with a view to expressing its engagement to minimise discrimination and promote recruitment, training, selection and employment on the basis of merit.
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