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CDB Annual Meeting to Provide Platform for “Robust Response” to Gender Equity Issues

After years of challenge and crisis which have slowed progress and even aggravated gender inequality in the Caribbean, “a robust response is needed” to counter these setbacks and set the Region on a path to equity and justice.

To that end, at its upcoming 53rd Annual Board of Governors Meeting in Saint Lucia, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) will be providing a platform for experts, activists, and policymakers to explore tangible solutions which can be scaled for implementation across the Region. The discourse is scheduled for June 21, when CDB will stage the Annual Meeting’s flagship seminar, “Solutions on All Sides: Addressing Multiple Crises to End Gender Inequality”.

“We know how challenging the last few years have been, between the COVID-19 pandemic, natural hazards like storms and a volcanic explosion and spiralling food and energy prices brought on by the war in Ukraine,” said Vice-President (Operations) and CDB Gender Champion, Mr Isaac Solomon.

“Any one of these on its own would be challenging enough, but what we’ve experienced in recent years has meant that our Borrowing Member Countries have been severely constrained in their ability to spend on and support their social systems. This, plus the psychosocial toll of these crises, has aggravated gender inequality with women, girls, persons with disabilities, indigenous people, and the elderly disproportionately affected.

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We in the Caribbean need to mount a robust response to counter these setbacks and move the Region more quickly towards the kind of future we want,” stated Solomon.

The seminar will feature an expert panel, moderated by the Bank’s Director of Projects, Mr Daniel Best which will focus on highlighting key challenges and gaps currently faced in addressing gender inequality in the Region.

Panellists include Dr Halimah Deshong, Head of the Institute of Development and Gender Studies at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Ms Nicole Pitter Patterson, international trade and gender expert and Ms Michele Irving, President of the Belize Women’s Commission. Ms Judith Wedderburn, board director of longstanding women’s advocacy organisation WMW Jamaica and Ms Tamara Huggins, Director of WVL Equality Fund Caribbean, will round out the expert panel.

Alongside the team of experts will be a Virtual Solutions Room featuring key practice professionals who will respond to the issues raised by the panel with innovative strategies and best practices that can be scaled. The solutions room participants will be Ms Ashlee Burnett, founder of Feminitt Caribbean, Ms Keithlin Caroo, Founder of Helen’s Daughter, Mr Amilcar Sanatan, Deputy Director of the Bureau of Gender Affairs in Trinidad and Tobago, Ms Marissa Hutchinson, Environmental Justice Programme Officer at the International Women’s Rights Action Watch – Asia Pacific and Ms Kavell Joseph, consultant with the World Bank’s Latin America and Caribbean Gender Equality Action Lab.

The seminar is part of the Bank’s heightened focus on gender equity issues for its 53rd Annual Meeting agenda. The forum will align with the 4th edition of the Bank’s President’s Chat, to be held on June 16, which will highlight the theme “Innovative Financing for Women”.

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