GIS – 29 August 2018: The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) is the right platform to reflect on the underlying causes and consequences of unsustainable policies, create a new economic thinking for women of the IORA region and adopt a unified approach for a common agenda on women’s economic empowerment.
The Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, made this statement this morning at the IORA Ministerial Conference focusing on the theme ‘Women’s Economic Empowerment: A Prerequisite for Sustainable Development’, currently being held at the Ravenala Attitude Hotel in Balaclava. The Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Local Government and Outer Islands, Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo, and other eminent personalities were also present on this occasion.
In his address, the Prime Minister highlighted that gender equality is a cross cutting issue and permeates the six priority areas which are: maritime safety and security and the blue economy; trade and investment facilitation; fisheries management; disaster risk management; academic science and technology corporation; and tourism and cultural exchange. It is therefore essential that women’s economic empowerment is fully understood as being a prerequisite for sustainable development, he underpinned.
He pointed out that Government has been accelerating interventions for women’s empowerment and gender equality. Some of these interventions, he added, include among others: the amendment of the Employment Rights Act in 2015 to increase maternity leave from 12 to 14 weeks; and a 10-year Small and Medium Enterprises master plan that support women engaged in entrepreneurial activities.
He emphasised that the Working Group on Women’s Economic Empowerment, which had its first inaugural meeting on 28 August 2018, with Mauritius as Chair and Australia as Co-chair and Lead Coordinator, shows that Senior Officials and Gender Experts are all set to work for women’s economic empowerment.
Addressing the delegates, the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Local Government and Outer Islands, Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo, stressed that the Conference is the peak of a new era for the IORA as it offers a unique platform for high calibre professionals in the field of gender and human affairs to deliberate and shed more light on women’s economic empowerment and to realise its set objectives by making the Working Group functional.
Gender focal points, she indicated, should strategise and identify concrete, practical and actionable recommendations which should be shared with relevant Ministries to ensure that women are subject of policies as well as vital agents of constructive change. Women’s economic empowerment is a critical aspect of any significant action to integrate women as active agents of sustainable development, she added.
Delegates from 19 IORA Member States are attending the two-day Conference which is an initiative of the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare. The Conference is expected to lead to the finalisation and adoption of the Work Plan of the Working Group on Women’s Economic Empowerment.
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