Trinidad and Tobago’s National Policy on Gender and Development

In recent years, empowerment of women has become the key issue in Non-Aligned Movement’s socio-economic agenda, as a result of which the Member Nations have begun paying more attention to safeguard the legal rights of women, providing them safe and sound environment to flourish and prosper. Majority of Member Nations already grant equality to women and empower them to stand at par with the men of the society, while others have now initiated implementation of schemes and policies, to uplift the stature of the women in the society by giving them equal rights and opportunities like others enjoy.

As the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago stands committed to bring equality and equity among its population and empower those lagging behind, a set of different approaches, strategies and actions is provided by the National Policy to boost and strengthen the capacity of the policymakers, planners and implementers to meet societal commitments to do away with gender discrimination in all its forms and respond to harmful and poisonous gender disparities that remain consistent with the intentions of the Constitution and international human rights obligations.

Among the common problems related to population, foreign debt, poverty, education and environment, gender equality and the issues of equity are the major issues faced by almost all the Member States. Since the very beginning, the issues concerning gender equality and development have also been enshrined in the guiding principles laid by the Non-Aligned Movement, in line with various other international treaties and convention.

Gender equality is about eliminating all sorts of discrimination against women and girls. Understanding that it is not just about the women’s rights and more about the sustainable future of the economies, Trinidad and Tobago laid the National Policy on Gender and Development that provides a framework for including gender perspectives, i.e. different needs, constraints, opportunities and priorities of men and women in every domain of government and civil societies, thereby promoting equal grounds for participation of both men and women in the growth and developmental process. The Policy stands as the ground for collaborative approach among state, civil society and the private sector to address the issues concerning gender equity and equality.

Adopted by the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in 2018, the National Policy on Gender and Development lays its emphasis on some of the key areas, including gender-based violence and human security, transformational leadership and governance, labour and employment, domestic and family life, macro-economy and trade, unwaged economic activities, poverty alleviation and social protection, climate change and natural resource management, agriculture and food sovereignty, education and human capital development, health and well being and special interest groups – youth, the Elderly, and the disabled population.

The National Policy aligned for gender equality and development, is in accordance with the Government’s commitments under Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the International Conference on Population Development Plan of Action (ICPD PoA), the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA), and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As earlier stated that gender equality is not just about giving equal rights to women of the society and is more of a concern of nation’s sustainable growth, thus, the issue constitutes to be a major determinant in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It must be emphasised that the role of women in the society is socio-political and cultural construct that has undergone evolution with time, varying from one society to another. As Non-Aligned Movement stands committed to address this major issue, likewise, nations are responsible to integrate gender awareness and competence into mainstream development through their “gender and development” approach.

Trinidad and Tobago’s National Gender Policy is supportive of the Caribbean nation’s continued support to Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) that contributes to the work of the United Nations in empowering women and making their lives worth living.

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