The Antigua & Barbuda Network of Women Parliamentarians (Parliament Gender Caucus) recently held a legislative workshop in Parliament on Monday 11 October, 2021.
The workshop in partnership with Women Against Rape (WAR Inc) reviewed legislation in Antigua & Barbuda that affects women and marginalized groups.
Attendees included Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs Hon. Samantha Marshall, Minister of State in the Ministry of Legal Affairs & Gender Caucus Vice President Hon Maureen Payne Hyman, Gender Caucus President Senator Hon Gail Christian, Gender Caucus Treasurer & UPP General Secretary Senator Hon Shawn Nicholas, Gender Caucus Public Relations Officer Senator Hon Aziza Lake, Independent Senator Hon Bakesha Francis-James, Executive Director Women Against Rape (WAR Inc) Alexandrina Wong, Directorate of Gender Affairs Communications Officer Raisa Charles, Attorney General’s representative Joy Dublin-Baptiste, UPP St John’s Rural North candidate caretaker Pearl Quinn-Williams, DNA Communications Officer Chaneil Imhoff, Barrister & Intersect Storyteller Annetta Jackson, ABLP Youth Arm representative Carolyn Quimby-Jarvis, and UPP Youth Arm Representative Chelsea Akiba Agard.
The all-day session involved taking a gendered approach to reviewing legislation affecting women and marginalized groups in Antigua & Barbuda.
The Sexual Offences Act 1995, Domestic Violence Act 2015, Offences Against the Person Act 1873 (Abortion), and the Marriage Act 1925 were some of the legislation that were reviewed.
Proposed legislation related to sexual harassment, women’s mental health – postpartum depression, and medical discrimination were also addressed. A proposal with the suggested changes will be presented to the Minister of Legal Affairs the Hon Steadroy Benjamin as well as private member bills will be submitted to the Parliament of Antigua and Barbuda.
President of the Senate the Honourable Alincia Williams-Grant had an idea to create a Gender Caucus in the Parliament of Antigua & Barbuda as a standing committee so as to provide an opportunity for women parliamentarians (past & present) to unite, irrespective of political party affiliation to ensure equality for all with an emphasis on gender equality and marginalized groups.
Also to exchange ideas, support one another on issues of common concern and work collectively to advance gender-responsive policies and laws in Antigua & Barbuda.
The mission of this body would be the integration of a gender-responsive environment into legislative action in order to foster peace, sustainable democracy and economic development.
This workshop is the first step of the Network Of Women Parliamentarians in Antigua & Barbuda to affect change and ensure that the laws of our fair nation ensure gender equality and equity are addressed in their design and implementation.
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