Development of Gender Studies in Belize Symposium Held

30 Mar 2012

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(JOINT MEDIA RELEASE) The University of Belize (UB) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) hosted a Breakfast Symposium on Gender Studies at the UB Faculty of Management & Social Sciences campus in Belize City, on Friday March 30th. The symposium is one of the activities that form part of the national Women’s Month Calendar, being celebrated with the theme “Connecting Girls & Women – Inspiring Futures, Empowering the Nation”.

In May 2011, the University of Belize hosted a Distinguished Lecture in Belmopan, “Gender Responsive Economic Policy Management and Sustainable Development: The Critical Link” delivered by the Director of the Gender Unit of UNDP, New York, Ms. Winnie Byanyima. The lecture had preceded the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 3 Needs Assessment and Costing Workshop, from which emanated national capacity to broaden work on MDG3. In this regard the University of Belize has now organized the Breakfast Symposium, as one of its initiatives to examine progress on the Development of Gender Studies in Belize.

The primary purpose of the symposium is to discuss strategies for the integration of gender and gender concepts into the curriculum, across disciplines and educational levels. This is one of the strategic initiatives that the UB will undertake, along with other partners, in order to facilitate and propel the achievement of MDG 3-Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women.

The symposium included a summary report of the May 2011 meeting by the National Women’s Commission (NWC) and an update by the University of Belize on the development of a Gender Studies Program, followed by a discussion of opportunities for collaboration among the University of the West Indies, Galen University, UB, and the NWC. To help define next steps for achievement of MDG3 by 2015, UNDP Programme Analyst Jay Coombs highlighted opportunities for technical assistance and the concept of a “2015 Conference on Mainstreaming Gender in Education” was discussed, including the appointment of focal points for a Gender Studies Steering Committee.

Among others, present at this transformational event were Esther Ayuso Ramirez, Chairperson and Ann-Marie Williams, Executive Director of the National Women’s Commission; Mrs. Jane Bennett, Head and Lisa Rocke of UWI Open Campus Belize; Icilda Humes, Director of the Women’s Department, Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation, and Poverty Alleviation; Myrna Manzanares, President, Belize Kriol Kouncil; Marietta Enriquez, National Garifuna Council; Ya-Ya Marin Coleman and Roxanne Marin from the Mattie Roter Women’s Group, the United Black Association for Development (UBAD) Educational Foundation (UEF); young students Irene Medina and Deshawn Ellis; Dativa Martinez, Director, Education Support Services, Ministry of Education and Youth; Dr. Vincent Palacio, Dean – Faculty of Management and Social Sciences, UB; Dr. Abigail Mckay, Faculty of Nursing and Allied Health, and Social Work, and other UB faculty and staff members; Ms. Jay Coombs, Poverty Reduction and MDGs Programme Analyst and UNDP Gender Mainstreaming focal point Ismirla Andrade.

Contact Information

Ms. Sylvia Cattouse, Symposium Coordinator, University of Belize, (501)822-3680.