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New National Women's Commission Inducted
posted (December 17, 2008)

Today a ceremony was held to induct fourteen members of the National Women’s Commission. The Commissioners who are appointed by the Minister of Human Development Eden Martinez include a group of highly skilled women and men who will now embark on implementing an ambitious two year work plan of action. A copy of that work plan was presented to Prime Minister Dean Barrow who delivered the key note address. It is the first time in the twenty six year history that the commission has an Executive Director who is Ann Marie Williams. Williams told us that the role of the NWC is primarily to monitor and implement the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and the national gender policy. She explained the work that lies ahead.

Ann Marie Williams, NWC Executive Director
“What the Commission wants to do in and of its own self is to actually look at disaggregated data. The United Nations Committee which is tasked to actually look at CEDAW and see what your country is doing or not doing, tells us that we need to take a more serious role and look at women’s contribution. We’re also looking at things like perhaps a women’s manifesto; how do we sensitize women as to what their voting for, how do we get women involved in politics, trading, those type of things are the things we want to know.

Where domestic violence is concerned, the Women’s Commission works closely with the Department, the Department is actually an implementing agency of the Commission; they have a very robust anti-domestic violence program. Belize has signed on to a pilot program that’s currently in the Caribbean known as a Batters’ Prevention Program. It is only for men but we have found over the years that by women being the victims and men aren’t treated, women are re-victimized so that’s one of the many programs. There is also education for women who’ve been victims of domestic violence. So the Women’s Department will be rolling out an ambitious program pretty soon that we’ll be able to partner with.

This is only the work plan now, we will have to sit down and say what areas we will prioritize to get the funding to do. But where poverty is concerned, we’re looking at rural projects but we don’t know exactly now what are the projects until later in the year, until we get funding.”

The National Women’s Commission is chaired by Senator Esther Ayuso Ramirez.

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