Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 10, 2020 (SKNIS): It has been 25 years since the Fourth World Conference on “Women: Action for Equality, Development and Peace” held in Beijing, China, between the 4th and 15th of September 1995, and St. Kitts and Nevis is now looking at what it has accomplished in terms of achieving gender equality over those 25 years.

At the conference, governments from around the world agreed on a comprehensive plan to achieve global legal equality, known as the Beijing Platform for Action.

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action framework covers 12 areas of concern including Women and the environment, Women in Power and Decision Making; The Girl Child; Women and the Economy; Women and Poverty; Violence Against Women; Human Rights of Women; Education and Training of Women; Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women; Women and Health; Women and the Media; and Women and Armed Conflict.

Minister of State with responsibility for Gender Affairs, the Honourable Wendy Phipps, said that a number of achievements have been attained by St. Kitts and Nevis in the past 25 years.

During her remarks at an awards ceremony to pay tribute to a number of women who have made a difference in St. Kitts and Nevis, in celebration of International Women’s Day 2020, the minister made mention of several of the achievements.

She stated that as recently as December 2017, St. Kitts and Nevis was able to attain a mortality rate of zero percent when it comes to maternal and child health within the last two to three years.

Also in December of 2017, St. Kitts and Nevis received the distinction of being among several countries first in the English speaking world of being able to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV, AIDS and Congenital Syphilis.

St. Kitts and Nevis has also been able to see 70 percent of the appointments to the post of permanent secretary in the Federal Government held by females.

The nation has also been successful in terms of the passage of the Domestic Violence Legislation as well as the adoption of the domestic violence complaints and reporting protocol.

The Federation is now in the middle of a post consultative period, awaiting the final report when it comes to the country’s gender equality programming. Minister Phipps said that it is still with the consultant who is Former Director of Gender Affairs, Ingrid Charles- Gumbs. “She is the person who is ably leading that charge with the support of UNESCO and for that we are grateful,” said the minister.

Minister Phipps noted that there are several other areas where St. Kitts and Nevis has seen the advancement of women.

We see it even at the level of the high schools where our girls are outperforming our young men,” she said. “That is something to rejoice about, but at the same time it is something for us to be concerned about because we do not wish to leave anyone behind as we work towards the attainment of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals because that too presents a socio- economic challenge for us here is St. Kitts and Nevis and the wider world.”

Minister Phipps said that at the same time the country should be very grateful when it comes to the treatment of the girl child.

Unlike other countries, especially a number of them in Africa and in Asia, our young girls are not subjected to things like female genital mutilation, the issue of child marriages and as a result of that, childhood pregnancies that result in fistula and all types of other gynecological issues that they must live with for the rest of their lives,” she said.

She added that there is also the issue of education of young girls that St. Kitts and Nevis does not face. The minister noted that it is a crime in some countries to teach females how to read.

We are lucky that where we live in St. Kitts and Nevis and the rest of CARICOM we do not have to subject our women and girls to that,” said Minister Phipps.