The National Gender policy document has been submitted to Cabinet, and is now being reviewed by its Human Resource Committee.
In addition, the Sexual Harassment policy is being redrafted, to allow for a joint presentation to Cabinet by Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, the Hon. Olivia Grange, and Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Senator the Hon. Dorothy Lightbourne.
Minister Grange made the disclosure this morning (March 8), at the launch of the Inter-American Year of Women, and the observation of International Women's Day, at the Jamaica Conference Centre, in downtown Kingston. The event was hosted by the Bureau of Women's Affairs
The legislative action by the Government is aimed at enhancing the welfare of women in Jamaica, as well as to ensure that there are equal opportunities and equal rights for both women and men.
"The development of the Gender policy is one step in ensuring that there is equal opportunity and rights for all," she said. Miss Grange said submissions have also been made to Cabinet regarding the Domestic Violence Act and the adoption of the new Sexual Offences Act.
"These legislative measures are gender neutral and will ensure the protection of both men and women against acts of gender-based violence," she stated.
The Minister, who is also responsible for Women's Affairs said International Women's Day "reminds us that women play an integral role in the development of a country, and in this regard when we ensure that our women are empowered, and we are moving towards the achievement of gender equality, we know that we are of extreme importance to our nation".
She said the day is an opportunity to highlight the situations of women and girls across the world, as well as honour the achievements made by women in all spheres of life, especially in Jamaica
Miss Grange said this year's observance is particularly important in the face of increasing economic hardships, as it is crucial to recognise that many women have been able to rise above these difficulties and continue to make important contributions to the various sectors of society.
"Let us encourage our young women to take advantage of opportunities to empower themselves, and let us encourage our young women to continue to stand tall, and to make the right decisions, and the right choices," Miss Grange urged.
Meanwhile, she pledged Jamaica's continued support for the women of Haiti, which lost three of its women's movement stalwarts in the devastating earthquake of January 12 - Myriam Merlet, Anne Marie Coriolan, and Magalie Marcelin.
"They were female leaders and founders of three of Haiti's most important advocacy organisations working on behalf of women and girls. These women and others have championed the cause of women, as they paved the way for Haitian women to have a voice in the midst of challenges. They also fought against various forms of oppression, including violence in general and gender-based violence in particular," she pointed out.
The observance was held under the theme: 'Equal Rights Equal Opportunities: Progress for All', and saw remarks from Her Excellency, Lady Allen; Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) sub regional office in the Caribbean, Dr. Hernando Agudelo; and Assistant Community Liaison Officer, Historian and Education specialist with the United States Embassy, Ms. Lea Flowers Baker.
There was a wide cross section of attendees at the function, including representatives of various women's and special interest groups, and members of the diplomatic corps. Some 53 women from various fields were awarded certificates for their outstanding contribution in their careers, and to their communities.