Photo: Women's Participation at a Local Level for Development, 2012Photo: Women's Empowerment at a Local Level for Development, 2012

Steps for consideration include:  Adopting measures which have had great success in other countries, and that are worth adopting to the Belizean context, include a conducive legal framework that guarantees women political rights;  having the political parties represented in the parliament with gender-sensitized party programmes; and members of the parliament being trained and sensitized on the empowerment of women leading to a strong commitment on the side of governmental institutions and political parties to MDG 3.  We support initiatives aiming at increasing the contribution of women to national decision-making in the National Assembly, and at increasing national capacity for gender-mainstreaming in policy development and implementation.

UNDP Belize initiatives related to Millennium Development Goal 3 include:
1.  MDG Acceleration Framework (MAF) - Supporting pro-poor policy reform to achieve MDG3 and other targets;
2.  MDG Needs Assessment and Cost Prognosis (NACP) – focused on Women's Empowerment;
3.  MDG Balanced Scorecard and Outlook Report - support to the Government for country monitoring and reporting including on indicators related to females.
4) MDG3 “Women and Politics: Inclusion at the Highest Level” – a collaborative partnership with the National Women’s Commission and 16 organizations.

Gender Equality

Photo: Signing of MoU for Gender Equality, March 8, 2011Photo: Signing of MoU for Gender Equality, March 8, 2011

Gender equality depends on women’s ability to participate in and influence decision-making. CEDAW stipulates that women should be represented in political and public life on equal terms with men since the presence of women in leadership increases the probability that their experiences are represented in decision making (Gender Justice: Key to Achieving the Millennium Development Goals, UNIFEM).

Several activities have taken place in Belize to support Gender Equality.  One of these is an MDG3 National Assessment and Costing Prognosis workshop, supported by UNDP.  The assessment have followed on these two areas, with the objective of reducing poverty and promoting development.

The projects being implemented support women's empowerment both at local as well as at national governance levels.  In addition, actions in other programmatic areas integrate a gender equality focus as regards participation and empowerment.