The Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, made this statement, yesterday, at a ceremony marking the celebration of the International Women’s Day 2020 at the Swami Vivekananda International Convention Centre, Pailles.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Energy and Public Utilities, Mr Ivan Leslie Collendavelloo, the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, Mrs Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, the Minister of Gender Equality and Family Welfare, Mrs Kalpana Devi Koonjoo-Shah, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, Mrs Amanda Serumaga, and other personalities were also present.
Prime Minister Jugnauth stated that the country has over time made significant progress with regard to improving women’s standard of living and quality of life. He lauded the efforts of every stakeholder who has contributed to women's emancipation and gender equality. Yet, regrettably, he said, domestic violence is still prevailing in the Mauritian society. He, therefore, urged parents and families to educate their children right from an early age on human rights, respecting and treating women as equal to men and to imbibe in them the right values. The fight for women's rights demands equal participation of men and women, he stressed.
International Women’s Day, he said, is an occasion to reflect on progress made by women, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by them. Mauritian women, he said, play a predominant role in contributing to the advancement of the country in all spheres. With a view, to further encourage women’s emancipation and protect women’s rights, Government, he recalled, has put in place several measures. They are: the Safe City project to help identify cases of violence; the grant of financial assistance by the Development Bank of Mauritius in the forms of no guarantee loans up to a ceiling of Rs 500 000 at a fixed interest rate of 3% to assist women in starting businesses; the Back-to-Work Programme targeting women above 35 years to get a job; and the extension of maternity leave, amongst others.
The Prime Minister also announced that Government will put in place a High-Level Committee to review laws, policies and strategies so as to combat the problem of domestic violence in the shortest delay. This, he said, is evidence of the willingness and commitment of Government to empower and support victims of domestic violence and women at large.
For his part, the Deputy Prime Minister, lauded the performance and achievements of women in the Civil Service and encouraged more women to enrol for technical jobs in the utilities sector, and apply for senior positions.
Minister Koonjoo-Shah commended the efforts and contributions of all women in helping Mauritius stand where it is today. She spoke on the United Nations’ theme chosen for this year’s celebration, “Accelerating the realisation for Gender Equality” and said that it is time to accelerate efforts for the realisation of gender equality. Women's rights, she emphasised, are fundamental human rights adding that domestic violence or any other forms of violence will not be tolerated in the country. She urged all victims as well as their families to break their silences and to come forward to report any such cases.
Mrs Serumaga, for her part, read the message of the Secretary-General of the United Nations which focused on achieving gender parity at all levels and the participation and inclusion of young women leaders in all forms of global challenges. She also highlighted the need for men to stand up for women rights.