The New Today


Does the Prime Minister believe in Gender Parity?

The European Institute of Gender Equality describes gender parity as the relative equality in terms of numbers and proportions of Women and Men and their respective contribution to every dimension of life.

Gender parity speaks to equality, fairness, diversity, and integration of genders across organisational structure.

During one of his earlier addresses shortly after assuming his position as Prime Minister, the Hon. Dickon Mitchell stated that there were over 60 Statutory Boards in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

The Prime Minister campaigned on improving gender representation in all areas including all statutory bodies. However, since his political party’s successful election, women are still not equally represented on statutory boards. It is imperative he acts on this election promise immediately.

Since taking office, it doesn’t appear that the National Democratic Congress has followed through. Several statutory boards have been constituted and in such instances where Women (not referring to his close Female Associates) make up part of the board, they are still the minority and are often assigned Secretarial or Administrative positions. Anecdotal evidence suggests so far that men grossly outnumber women at a ratio of 6:1 or greater.

Hypothetically, it begs the question what if a woman resigns from such a position? Will she be replaced by a man? If ‘yes’, this will further perpetuate gender inequality.

I’ve observed only a handful of women who are Chairpersons but I stand corrected. It’s important to note the critical importance of such a post. A Chairperson sets the agenda of the board, she/he wields a lot of influence and therefore it is important that when all else is equal it’s important that men and women are represented equally.

Gender equality is increasingly important globally and it’s a UN Sustainable Development Goal. The UN highlights the importance of increasing the number of women in politics as globally, women’s representation in national parliaments is only at 23.7 per cent.

Women’s involvement in policy making is crucial, as women in decision-making positions allows Female voices, experiences, and concerns to be heard, debated and addressed in the public arena.

This will inevitably lead to improvements in Women’s lives and standing in society and by extension the overall development of the tri-island state. Women continue to be the primary caregivers and head of households, furthermore, diverse voices in all sectors encourage creative thinking from different perspectives.

The Hon. Dickon Mitchell was elected on a promise to improve gender equality and it is of utmost importance that elected officials, such as the Prime Minister, keep their election promises in order that the voting population maintain confidence in their elected leaders, the leaders must use their power legitimately, that is, to achieve their mandate.

The Prime Minister’s mandate includes improving gender equality on statutory boards and he must deliver on this manifesto promise. While I didn’t vote for the ousted New National Party, I must acknowledge that there was at least the appearance of greater gender parity.

At present, the Prime Minister has not implemented any changes to achieve the promise of gender equality. Addressing this oversight in policy must become a priority in the Prime Minister’s agenda if the people who elected him are to believe his election promises were genuine and made in good faith.

He spoke of transformational change, then let us see it. Indeed, demographic data indicates that Women outnumber Men in the tri-island state and therefore should be represented proportionally.

It is also important that the Prime Minister uses all available resources, including public statistics and public consultation to make good on his promise to improve gender equality on statutory boards, thereby leading by example.

Yes, the Hon. D. Mitchell, the optics are not looking good. It’s also fair to state that Women outnumber Men in pursuing tertiary education and therefore, if the Prime Minister wants us to vote for the NDC in the next election, he must vigorously improve gender parity quickly and lead by example.

Let NDC be the change they want to see.

The Commentator

NB: On a separate note, are you aware that the NDC has not been paying some or all Directors on statutory boards since August 2022?