CDB Statement on International Women’s Day

STATEMENT
by Patricia McKenzie
Vice-President, Operations, Caribbean Development Bank
on
International Women’s Day 2016

Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day, which is being celebrated around the world under the theme Pledge for Parity. Every year, International Women’s Day gives us an opportunity to reflect on the gains that have been made by women around the world, but it also reminds us that there is still much more to be done. This year, the celebration of International Women’s Day also coincides with the endorsement by Heads of States and Governments of the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which sees gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls spotlighted as Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, as well as through gender targets defined across all the SDGs.

On International Women’s Day, we recognize the women who continue to negotiate for gender equality, both in their communities and in public spaces, as well as the women who negotiate gender equality priorities for public action, on behalf of the Caribbean. Gender equality remains a strategic priority for CDB, and one that we pay close attention to in all our projects. In our BMCs, CDB’s investments are translating into shifts in institutional culture and practice; increased access by women in poor communities to basic services of water and sanitation, transportation and early childhood care. This will reduce their time spent on care activities and contribute to their overall wellbeing. In addition, we are paying specific attention to the reduction of gender stereotyping in the education sector, increasing the access of women producers to regional and global markets, and enhancing entrepreneurial opportunities for young women through equality of access to finance for micro, small and medium sized enterprises. The goal is to allow women to have equal opportunities for participation in the labour market.

The targets and actions laid out to address gender equality in the SDGs and Agenda 2030 will encompass an unprecedented scope, which will require collaboration with all our partners. This is therefore a critical moment to reaffirm and renew the Bank’s commitments to collaboration and partnership with the State, the private sector and civil society— and most of all, with the women of the region. In this regard, we commit to stepping up CDB’s country and regional dialogue on inclusive economies. Particular attention will be paid to enabling environments which support equal representation of women and men in leadership and decision making; eliminating gender-based violence; participation and innovation for growth and development; reducing poverty with emphasis on its intergenerational transmission; and eliminating discriminatory practices. Our aim is to unlock the potential of women and girls, increase human development and the overall allocative efficiency of the economy.

This International Women’s Day, as we join with the rest of the world in making our Pledge for Parity, we recognize that while we have come a far way, there is still much to be done. Our vision for the future is one in which all men and women in our BMCs have equal access to opportunities, education and the ability to create a better quality of life for themselves and their children. In this regard, we recognize that the voices of women and girls, along with men and boys, are critical to defining sustainable solutions on persistent issues, and for keeping track on this challenging road to substantive gender equality by 2030.