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The Bureau of Women’s Affairs has a mandate to act as a catalyst to ensure that Government addresses the problems that confront women, given the impact of patriarchy and sexism. The problems include high rates of unemployment, violence against women in various forms such as spousal abuse, rape, incest and sexual harassment.
Its objective is to enable women to recognize their full potential as individuals and to create avenues for their full integration in National Development.
The three main functions of the Bureau are:
- Research and Policy Development
- Public Education and Training
- Project Planning and Monitoring
National Policy Statement on Women
In 1987, the Government of Jamaica adopted a National Policy Statement on women. The ten goals of the policy statement cover:
- Increasing access to employment and income
- Upgrading women’s skills and increasing their access to credit and markets
- Improving pay, working conditions and promoting the diversification of women’s employment opportunities
- Ensuring available, affordable, adequate child care services
- Providing adequate protection and means to redress women and children who are victims of family violence, incest, rape and sexual harassment
- Improving housing supply and terms of acquisition to assist women in the provision of shelter for themselves and their families
- Eliminating legal discrimination and implementing reforms necessary for the protection and advancement of women
- Ensuring that the provision and distribution of basic services between men and women is equitable
- Promoting women’s rights to contraception and choices about the number of children they desire.
- 10. Ensuring equal rights for females in all areas of education