A Policy On Equity

Gender and Development
Despite the great achievements made in Human and Women’s rights work over the decades it still
remains that globally, there are vast economic and social differences between them. More importantly,
whether intended or unintended, these differences vary across gender lines and continually impede the
individual and collective ability of women and men to reach their full potential. These types of
considerations about gender should influence legal reform and the development of public policies if
countries are to witness a change in these gender imbalances. Public policies can either perpetuate or
eliminate discrimination and gender inequality; therefore policy-makers must take firm action to
maintain a perspective that focuses on gender equity. Gender equity is achieved by systematically
identifying and removing discrimination in order to give women and men equal opportunities in all
facets of life. Gender Mainstreaming involves incorporating gender considerations into all policies
programmes and practises so that analysis of the effects of programs and interventions for women and
men influence decisions to create gender equity. Achieving gender equity is integral to National
Development so that the country optimises the human capital of women and men in development. The
Revised National gender Policy 2013 does exactly this.

A Policy focused on equity
Any notions of gender equity are inextricably linked to the principle that women and men may need to
be treated differently to achieve equal opportunities to equity in the quality of their lives. This principle
purports that men and women may need to be treated differently to achieve sameness in results in the
quality of their lives. The equity principle focuses on reducing disparity by targeting those disadvantaged
groups with evidence-based programmes and interventions that help to reduce power imbalances and
broaden access to services and resources to the most marginalized. These considerations have an
impact on the wide range of interventions that must be implemented by the State and its partners.
This is the intent of the Revised National Gender Policy 2013. The Policy’s visions is to reduce these
gender disparities in access to, control over and benefit from resources, wealth, opportunities and
services and to create an enabling environment where all are empowered to achieve their full potential.
The Policy outlines the Government of Belize’s commitments to fostering gender equity along five
priority areas of Health, Education, Wealth and Employment Generation, Gender Based Violence and
Power and Decision-Making. The National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC) supports and
applauds such endeavours.

The strength of the policy is that it has taken a gender perspective on development issues and functions
as a framework to mainstream gender, by stimulating reflection, providing direction and calling for
strategic actions to create the enabling environment for women and men.

For instance the Policy makes provisions for gender issues in Employment processes such as recruitment
and remuneration. It addresses the use of gender biased job advertisements and descriptions and
advocates for equal wages for work and for family friendly practises that allow for balance between
family and professional roles.

The Policy also makes provisions to include gender issues in Emergency planning. It recognizes that
women and men are affected differently and have different priorities, responsibilities and protection
needs. Ensuring the safety of the populace in these crucial times require national plans to reflect these

The policy also makes provisions for gender issues in Decision-Making and champions the need for
increased equality in participation in political life. It also makes provisions for Gender Budgeting an
exercise that will identify where government money is spent and who benefits most. This will reveal the
institutional structures and practices that perpetuate the dominance and privileges that contribute to
inequality. It will also help to determine if the interventions are responding to the need of the most
vulnerable groups in society.

In closing society cannot develop meaningfully without transforming access to opportunities, resources
and choices to allow women and men to shape their own lives. Both women and men have a critical role
in national development and without a gender perspective the policies and procedures needed to
capitalize on their potential remains outside the national grasp. The Revised National Gender Policy
2013 seeks to address this now and therefore we should all educate ourselves about the opportunities it
will afford.

The NCFC fully endorses this policy and incorporates a gendered approach to all its work.