UK extends women’s rights treaty to Cayman Islands

| 08/03/2016 | 10 Comments
Cayman News Service

CEDAW press conference March 2016 (L-R) Cayman Islands Governor Helen Kilpatrick, Premier Alden McLaughlin and Gender Affairs Minister Tara Rivers

(CNS): The UK has finally agreed to extend the international treaty it has signed regarding the prevention of discrimination against women to the Cayman Islands. After 12 years working towards this, the Cayman Islands Government learned this week that its request to have the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) extended to the territory has been granted by the British government. 

Speaking at a press conference Tuesday to mark the milestone, Premier Alden McLaughlin explained that the Cayman Islands will now be immersed in policies to make gender discrimination a thing of the past, and that government would need to undertake a series of measures to end discrimination against women in all forms.

“While women in Cayman do not face many of the significant discriminatory challenges as women in other parts of the world, we do recognise that problems still remain and must be addressed. This will go a long way to meeting our manifesto pledge of recognising, valuing and honouring the role of women in our society,” he said.

The Gender Equality Law, 2011 already prohibits discrimination in employment and related matters and served as the local “enabling legislation” upholding the principles of CEDAW. Described as an international Bill of Rights for women, CEDAW was adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly and has been ratified by almost every single member of the United Nations.

The premier commended Gender Affairs Minister Tara Rivers for the work on the achievement, which has been 12 years in the making, and said his administration was committed to addressing the most pressing barriers for women.

Government has “increasing investment in gender equality, reaching parity for women at all levels of decision-making and disavowing and changing social norms that perpetuate discrimination and violence against women”, he said.

Rivers said, “Put simply, by accepting the Convention, it means that the government will commit itself to take appropriate measures to promote gender equality and eliminate discriminatory practices against women in all forms. CEDAW is not a self-executing document as it is up to local policymakers and stakeholders to work together and determine the best way in which to achieve the core 16 principles of CEDAW.”

Within one year of the extension, the Cayman Islands Government have to submit information to be included into the UK’s country reports to the CEDAW Committee documenting Cayman’s progress in achieving the aspirational goals set out in CEDAW.

“At least every four years, the government will be provided with an opportunity to report on the legislative, judicial, administrative or other measures which we have adopted to give effect to the provisions of the present Convention and on the progress made in respect to priority areas of concern,” Rivers explained, but noted the challenges.

“Society cannot change overnight and minds do not change organically. With the advancement of technology and social media, the power of corporate, social and grassroots initiatives, and the voices of supportive men and women willing to speak out on issues concerning gender equality, everyone can be an advocate for change. Indeed a collective effort is necessary when striving towards gender equality, and the mutual benefits that it yields will ensure that the future for our girls is bright, safe, rewarding and valued as equally as our boys,” she added.

The Cayman Islands will be granted the extension next week at the 60th Annual Committee on the Status of Women meeting at the United Nations in New York. Rivers will be taking a trip  to the Big Apple when the UK delegation deposits the instrument which formally notifies the United Nations Secretary- General that the UK Government requests the extension of CEDAW.

Countries that have ratified CEDAW are legally obligated to work towards implementing its provisions and are also committed to monitoring and reporting on the measures they have taken to comply with their treaty obligations.

Tammy Ebanks, Senior Policy Officer (Gender Affairs), said CEDAW would be a catalyst to examine lingering areas of discrimination and develop solutions to inequality.

“Although we already have compliance with many of the obligations of CEDAW, the benefits of having CEDAW extended to the Cayman Islands are many, and include providing the Gender Affairs Unit with a useful framework for national action, easier access to technical resources, and also opportunities to build relationships and share best practices and policy recommendations with other countries,” she added.

Premier’s Statement on Extension of CEDAW to Cayman Islands – 8 March 2016

Minister Gender Affairs Statement on Extension of CEDAW to Cayman Islands – 8 March 2016

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  1. Anonymous says:

    “Premier Alden McLaughlin explained that the Cayman Islands will now be immersed in policies to make gender discrimination a thing of the past, and that government would need to undertake a series of measures to end discrimination against women in all forms.” So Alden and Tara are committed to work permit reductions for part time jobs obtained by existing residents? Or are they both just blowing hot air?

  2. Anonymous says:

    how can cayman speak of eguality and rights when more than 50% of its residents have no representation or voting rights?

  3. Anonymous says:

    One of the most important areas of Law, but mostly policy, to be examined must be the immigration policies of only granting status or PR to the husband therefore leaving many women’s immigration status being dependent on the husband. It can happen the other way round, but that is highly unusual. Many women on this Island are held to ransom by this policy. Even if in good stable marriages it is so discriminatory to, in effect, enslave the woman to the whims of their “man”.

  4. Perry says:

    Another great achievement.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is great, and long overdue. However, something this important should not have been shelved and delayed by any government to ironically coincide with International Woman’s Day or to be deployed as a carefully staged political appeasement in the lead-up to an election. It makes us all wonder how long have they been sitting on this?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Interesting development because not have reduced work permit fees for part time workers is the very definition of indirect discrimination against women.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Look below for real gender equality (The UK’s new maternity/paternity provisions). The consequential effect of legislators try to make parties equal by only address one party (in this case the woman) has all sorts of adverse effects. As Alden has been forced to accept homosexuals he and (Tara) both know that they can’t play this game for long. How will they attempt to favour one woman over another or one man over another in a relationship.

    Tara this is 2016 not 1990 can for once we start to keep up with the trends

    Starting Shared Parental Leave
    Blocks of leave
    Record keeping
    Help with statutory pay
    1. Overview
    Employees may be able to get Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) if:

    their baby is due on or after 5 April 2015
    they adopt a child on or after 5 April 2015
    Employees can start SPL if they’re eligible and they or their partner end their maternity or adoption leave or pay early. The remaining leave will be available as SPL. The remaining pay may be available as ShPP.

    Employees can take SPL in up to 3 separate blocks. They can also share the leave with their partner if they’re also eligible. Parents can choose how much of the SPL each of them will take.

    A mother and her partner are both eligible for SPL and ShPP. The mother ends her maternity leave and pay after 12 weeks, leaving 40 weeks available for SPL and 27 weeks available for ShPP. The parents can choose how to split this.

    SPL and ShPP must be taken between the baby’s birth and first birthday (or within 1 year of adoption).

    SPL and ShPP are only available in England, Scotland and Wales.

    Contact HMRC
    You can contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) online about ShPP for employees who are:

    having a baby
    adopting a child

  8. Anonymous says:

    Instead of fighting for the “inequality ” that doesn’t exist, we should be helping some women become better at who they select to date, have children with, or marry. Now that would make things better. Come to think of it, some men too could gain from such a eye opener as well.

    • Anonymous says:

      There’s someone for everyone! Some people are just able to get way better than they should.

      You are purely talking about self – esteem. Maybe hop on over to the viewpoint about pageants and suggest signing up all woman for that starting in preschool!

      Gender inequality solved!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Give women rights to control their reproduction…(won’t happen in Muslim and Christian theocracies).

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