IN THIS ISSUE

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IN THIS ISSUE

ISSUE 02

PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENTS PAGE 1

CURRENT EVENTS AND PROGRAMMES PAGE 2

Update on UN Trust Fund Project

DoGA Book Club

Orange Day

School’s Sensitization

#BanTheBlame Campaign

World Population Day

PARTNER’S CORNER PAGE 6

Featured Partner- WAR

Partner News & Events

FEATURES PAGE 8

CEDAW Report Ready

Linkages between Gender and the environment

Feminist Focus with Amina Doherty

GENDER & HEALTH PAGE 12

Zika

HIV & Gender/ Regional Testing Day

CARIBBEAN FOCUS PAGE 14

YOUTH ADVOCACY CORNER PAGE 16

Kyla Burton- Where do Youth stand on Gender

Equality?

Artwork from Maritza Martin

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THE ADVOCATE NEWSLETTER | DIRECTORATE OF GENDER AFFAIRS


PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENTS

FROM THE DIRECTORATE OF GENDER AFFAIRS

REGISTER YOUR COMMUNITY GROUP

MEN AS PARTNERS INITIATIVE

The Directorate of Gender Affairs is offering

technical support to new or previously established

community groups. We provide capacity

strengthening, assistance in drafting project proposals,

creating women’s safety forums, gender

sensitivity training to community groups, Neighbourhood

Watch efforts, and similar organisations.

Interested groups are asked to register with the

Directorate of Gender Affairs at our offices on

Nevis Street and Friendly Alley or via email at

gender@ab.gov.ag.

The DoGA is currently recruiting men between

the ages of 18 to 60 to participate in our Men as

Partners programme.

As part of the Directorate’s mandate to engage

all members of the community in advocating

for an end to Gender-Based Violence (GBV), and

promoting a safer society where gender equality

is realized, MAP (Men As Partners) is a development

programme that will train men to become

advocates and work in partnership with the department.

It will also empower men as advocates

by training them to engage with other men and

boys in their society.

The initiative seeks to partner with men at different

levels of society who are already engaged in

social commentary and community programmes

whether it be through established civil societies

and organisations or on social media. For more

information please contact our offices at 462-

3990 or gender@ab.gov.ag

DIRECTORATE OF GENDER AFFAIRS | THE ADVOCATE NEWSLETTER 1


CURRENT EVENTS AND PROGRAMMES

UN TRUST FUND PROJECT UPDATE

Acting Executive Director, Farmala Jacobs presents on day 3 of the workshops

The Directorate has now drafted the official protocol

for the National Domestic Violence Database

which was established under the United

Nations Trust Fund Project.

The protocols will act as a guide for those tasked with

using the database while defining gender-based violence

and its context in Antigua & Barbuda, and also

explaining in detail what the GBSV Database is, why it

is important and how it works.

It also functions as a training manual on how to use

database and its various tools through hands-on,

self-learning activities.

In June the Directorate of Gender Affairs conducted

a week-long series of consultative workshops

ahead of the opening of its 24-hour crisis centre.

Representatives from the Royal Police Force of

Antigua & Barbuda, specially trained Sexual Assault

Nurse Examiners, 911 operators, victims’

advocates, and DoGA staff participated in the

workshops.

The sessions aimed to sensitize the aforementioned

groups to the issue of gender-based violence,

why it happens and their role in combatting

it. It also served as consultations between

the groups to come up with the best model for

the centre.

The crisis centre will be a “one-stop shop” where

victims can access medical, legal and counselling

services all in the same space. According to registered

nurse, Alexandrina Wong, turnover time

at the centre will be approximately an hour. This

will replace the current system of sexual assault

victims having to wait hours before seeing a medical

health professional.

Having completed a full legislative review of

the nation’s GBSV-related laws and policies

the DoGA has commenced on a project to

simplify the laws in to a series of booklets, posters

and other public education materials. The target

documents include the Domestic Violence Act

2015, the Sexual Offences Act, and the Electronic

Crimes Act. The documents should be ready for

distribution by the end of the 2016.

Panel discussion on the roles of stakeholder groups in the crisis centre

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THE ADVOCATE NEWSLETTER | DIRECTORATE OF GENDER AFFAIRS


Acting Executive Director of the Directorate, Farmala

Jacobs says the crisis centre will also serve to

create a standard operating procedure for cases

of gender-based and sexual violence.

“What happens now is very fragmented and there

is not a clear protocol as to what should happen if

someone were to find themselves in a situation of

violence, so what we want to do is create this centre,

which is actually a best practice in other parts

of the world.”

The project is funded by the United Nations Trust

Fund Project to End Violence against Women and

Girls.

Police officers discuss gender affects socialization on day 3

Our work continues on the United Nation

Trust Fund Project. In our efforts to increase

public awareness of violence against

women and girls and to further spread the message

of gender equality the DoGA will be erecting

15 billboards around the island. Each board will

feature a specially crafted message based on the

Sustainable Development Goals.

Shooting for the billboards is ongoing.

DoGA staff act out a simulation exercise in preparation for the crisis centre

“The crisis center is important because there is a need for respect and privacy for women and victims and it’s also a good idea [to have]

a one stop shop.” - Loann Hector (SANES)

“It was informative and promoted collaboration among stake holders which allowed members to be aware of their roles in relation to

the crisis center. The one stop shop approach offers a humanistic and multidimensional approach that addresses the traumatic events

the client has experienced.” - Maricia Samuel (Advocate)

“The workshop was necessary and informative as it allowed me to voice my opinions on gender, and understanding what gender is.

The crisis centre is very important as it relieves stress from victims.” -Theodore Horne (Law Enforcement Officer)

DIRECTORATE OF GENDER AFFAIRS | THE ADVOCATE NEWSLETTER 3


DOGA BOOK CLUB

On April 17, the Directorate of Gender Affairs held

the first meeting of its book club. The group aims

to allow its members to read and share in a range

of books in order to encourage thought provoking discussions

on issues relevant to Caribbean society.

So far the selected texts have included Beloved by Toni

Morrison, Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Aidchie and

She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb.

The DoGA book club meets every third Saturday of the

month at the DoGA headquarters on lower Nevis Street.

Those interested in joining are asked to email gender.

antigua@gmail.com for further information.

ORANGE DAY CELEBRATIONS

APRIL

Team DoGA visited six local primary and secondary

schools to raise awareness about the Orange

Day initiative and gender-based violence. The

selected schools were the St Johns’ Catholic Primary,

Pigotts Primary, Potters Primary, St. Joseph Academy,

Clare Hall Secondary, and Christ the King High

Schools.

Students at the St Johns’ Catholic Primary, Pigotts Primary,

and Potters Primary also had the opportunity

to become DoGA Peace Ambassadors and join the

fight to end gender-based violence.

The presentations included discussions on the types

of violence and ways that students and their schools

can get involved in future Orange Day activities. The

initiative was intended to educate and equip students

with the tools to recognize situations of violence and

seek help when necessary.

Students were also invited to visit the DoGA headquarters

on Nevis Street and Friendly Alley for further

information.

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THE ADVOCATE NEWSLETTER | DIRECTORATE OF GENDER AFFAIRS


MAY

The Directorate of Gender Affairs launched its

#BANTHEBLAME campaign. The social media

campaign highlighted the culture of victim blaming

around issues of gender-based violence. It served

to renew the DoGA’s call to end all forms of violence

and discrimination against women and girls in both

the public and private spheres.

On May 25, 2016, Orange Day, the DoGA encouraged

the public to “orange’ their social media spaces by

changing their profile pictures to any of the designated

campaign materials to sound their support for

ending all forms of victim blaming.

WORLD POPULATION DAY

To celebrate World Population Day 2016 the Directorate

of Gender Affairs released its Growing Up Girl 268

video series. In keeping with the theme, Investing in

Teenage Girls, the Growing Up Girl Project focused on the

challenges and triumphs of girls in Antigua & Barbuda.

From sexual health and reproductive services to barriers

to political participation, and discrimination with the education

system, the project took a look at nine girls and

young women from various backgrounds and asked the

question, “What did growing up a girl mean for you?”

The series can be viewed on the DoGa Facebook page at

http://genderaffairs.gov.ag/news/14682511064252

DIRECTORATE OF GENDER AFFAIRS | THE ADVOCATE NEWSLETTER 5


PARTNERS CORNER

FEATURED PARTNER:

WAR

President of WAR Alexandrina Wong presents at town hall meeting in St. George’s

Established in 2008, Women against Rape (WAR)

has become a prominent voice on gender equality

and women’s empowerment in Antigua & Barbuda.

According to founder, Alexandrina Wong, the group

was formed in response to a string of home invasions

and sexual assaults in 2007 and 2008. Its mission is

to promote inclusive health parity and victim justice

through education, advocacy, and direct services to

women and families affected by sexual violence using

a public health and human rights approach.

WAR has been a partner of the directorate of Gender

Affairs since its inception and has collaborated with

the Directorate on several events and projects including

its 16 Days of Activism.

WAR says its vision for Antigua & Barbuda is a society

that thrives on social justice and peace.

Its offices are located in Redcliffe Quay where they offer

crisis intervention, outreach counseling for both

urban and rural areas, advocacy, referrals, and training.

They can also be reached 24/7 at 721-5553.

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THE ADVOCATE NEWSLETTER | DIRECTORATE OF GENDER AFFAIRS


PARTNER NEWS

NATIONAL YOUTH

AMBASADORS CORPS

September 2016

Sex & Consent – School Sensitization

Intersect will be hosting a series of interactive sessions

on sex and consent with a select group of

schools for the new school year beginning in September.

Our primary objective is to provide a safe space

where students can share their concerns and views

on the topics indicated above.

We would like to use this opportunity to educate

students about safe and consensual sex from a gendered

perspective. This will entail discussions about

gender stereotypes as well as unfair and oppressive

expectations society places on young women and

men. In order to facilitate discussions that are simultaneously

engaging, fun and informative, we will plan

a few interactive activities with the students in order

to accommodate those with different learning styles.

The National Youth Ambassador Corps of Antigua

& Barbuda has started a YouTube channel. The

page launched on June 20 with the first episode

of the group’s new blog NYAC Youth Chat. New

videos will be published weekly on Mondays and

Friday’s at 5:00 p.m.

AIDS

SECRETARIAT

The AIDS Secretariat launched its annual celebration

of Regional Testing Week on Sunday June

19 with a church service at St. George Anglican

Church. The week of events included a street fair

and free HIV screenings.

DIRECTORATE OF GENDER AFFAIRS | THE ADVOCATE NEWSLETTER 7


FEATURES

CEDAW REPORT READY

This year, Antigua Barbuda will make its fourth,

fifth, sixth, and seventh country report to the CE-

DAW commission. The Convention on the Elimination

of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

(CEDAW) was adopted by the United Nations on

December 18, 1979. Also known as the “Women’s Bill

of Rights”, the treaty provides legal basis for women’s

human rights claims and mandates that member governments

take all necessary steps, including legislative

changes, to remove any and all barriers to women’s

equality.

Every four years signatory states are required to

submit a country report to the CEDAW Committee

detailing the steps it has taken to comply with the

Convention. Here in the Caribbean, some key areas

for concern are gender-based violence, women’s economic

empowerment and political participation, and

the intersection between gender and AIDS epidemic.

The report reflects the nation’s status on these and

other issues as well as any progress made in protecting

the rights of women and girls. For example, the

passage of the Domestic Violence Act 2015 will be

highlighted in the 2016 report.

This year’s report was compiled by Dr. Ermina Osoba

with assistance from the Directorate of Gender

Affairs, and in consultation with several non-governmental,

civil society, and faith-based partner organisations.

A draft of the document will be taken to Cabinet

for approval before its official submission to the

CEDAW committee later this year. After the document

is submitted the CEDAW committee will provide its

recommendations.

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THE ADVOCATE NEWSLETTER | DIRECTORATE OF GENDER AFFAIRS


LINKAGES BETWEEN GENDER AND THE ENVIRONMENT

By: Nneka Nicholas

Gender inequality

manifests itself

in many ways

and one of the most intense

manifestations

that we see in Antigua

and Barbuda occurs

when we look at the

statistics for poverty

and its relation to the

environment. Environmental

degradation

and poverty alleviation

are urgent global issues that have a lot in common,

but are often treated separately. While the importance of

prioritizing policies to address climate change is highlighted

day after day, the effects that gender inequality has on

the success of adapting to climate change is often poorly

understood, or simply misunderstood.

Vulnerable groups (women, children, elderly, and the disabled)

are disproportionately affected by climate change

most noticeably during natural disasters. Changing weather

patterns will result in stronger and more intense hurricanes,

and stronger and more intense periods of heavy

rainfall leading to flash flooding. These hurricanes and

storms will pose a major challenge to human resources, infrastructure

and the overall well-being of our communities.

Climate change has also highlighted serious vulnerabilities

as it relates to the availability of water. Antigua is categorized

as a water-scarce country. 70 per cent of the country’s

daily water supply during wet years, is obtained from

desalinated water and closer to 100 per cent during very

dry periods with the remainder supplied by surface storage

and wells. Water resources are one of the resources most

vulnerable to long-term climate change and affects all people,

ecosystems and economies.

Climate change increases the number of constraints on

women, who are the primary source in many communities

in Antigua and Barbuda, for providing food, water and a

sustainable income for their families. Many women, even

in female headed households are prevented, by social stigma,

from being treated as economic or social equals, despite

having sole management of their households.

During disasters, and after them, many members of these

vulnerable groups often become victims of sexual and gender

based violence which heightens vulnerabilities. Families

are often displaced and this can lead to an increase in

both violence itself and the visibility of pre-existing violence

due to over-crowded living conditions in shelters and temporary

housing. The loss of homes, livelihoods, community

and family protection increase vulnerability to violence and

poverty, and scarce resources due to loss of assets can limit

choices and opportunities for vulnerable persons.

On 12th December 2015, a historic agreement was signed

in Paris. The outcome of COP 21 was the creation of a draft

binding legal agreement which requires that all countries

commit to combating climate change. The agreement will

enter into force after 55 countries that account for at least

55% of global emissions have deposited their instruments

of ratification. One of the most crucial areas identified as

essential to meet this goal is adaptation.

Adaptation means that we must strengthen our country’s

ability to deal with the impacts of climate change. Unequal

distribution of resources and power imbalances are both

the root cause of poverty and also impact on a person’s

capacity to adapt. Focusing on the human dimensions of

climate change presents a unique opportunity to assess

the success of vulnerability reduction and climate change

adaptation programmes. Adaptation policies should accommodate

the demand of those who will be affected the

most by climate change.

The Directorate of Gender Affairs is currently collaborating

with the Antigua Barbuda Department of Environment on

an integrated approach to physical adaptation and community

resilience in Antigua and Barbuda’s northwest McKinnon’s

watershed.

The three-fold project will seek to make funding available

for residents to adapt their homes to deal with the impacts

of climate change like rising sea levels, flooding and stronger

storms. It also seeks to improve national shelter facilities

within the target area.

DoGA has come on board to offer technical assistance

with the project and to ensure that the needs of women

and men are taken into account when drafting eligibility

requirements, upgrading shelters and other factors of the

project.

DIRECTORATE OF GENDER AFFAIRS | THE ADVOCATE NEWSLETTER 9


FEMINIST FOCUS

WITH AMINA DOHERTY

Nigerian-born feminist ARTivist Amina

Doherty has lived and worked in Nigeria,

Canada, Jamaica and the UK but currently,

Antigua & Barbuda is the place she calls home.

She is a curator, consultant and creative that

strives to bring together people and ideas to create

positive change. As an African-Caribbean feminist

and women’s rights advocate, Amina’s work

is centred around raising awareness for social justice

through movement-building, and innovative

approaches to philanthropy. This work takes many

forms: art exhibitions, community programs, cultural

events, and grant making initiatives.

Having worked as a research officer for the Directorate

of Gender Affairs and collaborating on projects

like on DoGA’s Feminist meet in 2015, Amina’s

work often uses feminist philanthropy and the

creative arts as tools for advocacy.

Currently, Amina works with a number of organisations

including the Association for Women’s

Rights in Development (AWID), an international

feminist membership organisation that serves to

support, resource and strengthen women’s rights

organisations and movements, and the African

Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) a grant making

foundation that serves the continent.

Amina also serves as a Caribbean advisor to Mama

Cash, and the MATCH International Women’s

Fund. She also currently sits on the boards of Just

Associates (JASS), a global organisation working to

strengthen the voice, visibility, and power of women,

and the Global Fund for Women, one of the

world’s leading foundations for gender equality.

In a recent interview with The Advocate Amina discusses

the state of advocacy and gender equality

in Antigua & Barbuda and the rest of the region.

TA: The Bahamas just voted against several changes

to their Constitution that would have promoted

gender equality, including one that would make

it illegal for the government to discriminate on

the basis of sex. What do you think incidents like

these say about the state of the gender equality

movement in the Caribbean?

AD: I was very disappointed with the decision taken

in the Bahamas. It is yet another example of how

far away we are from achieving gender equality in

the Caribbean.

Despite the incredibly important work being done

by women’s rights and social justice organisations

across the region, decisions like the one recently

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THE ADVOCATE NEWSLETTER | DIRECTORATE OF GENDER AFFAIRS


made in the Bahamas illustrate the challenges of

cultural and political systems that are inherently

patriarchal and that are becoming increasingly intolerant.

The challenges that we face in the Caribbean go

beyond advocating for seemingly controversial issues

to actively seeking to maintain basic rights for

women like freedom from violence, access to citizenship,

and access to education and healthcare.

We as women’s rights advocates are struggling to

simply “hold the line” when it comes to previously

won gains.

TA: Why is there such a push back against gender

equality, specifically as it relates to women’s empowerment

in Antigua & Barbuda?

AD: I wish I could say that this is something unique

to the region or even to women in Antigua and Barbuda.

Around the world we are witnessing the rise

of religious fundamentalisms that perpetuate xenophobic

and intolerant attitudes and beliefs as

has been evidenced by the rise of the religious right

across Europe. For example, there was a great deal

of anti-immigrant narrative surrounding Britain’s

most recent “Brexit”, and Donald Trump’s bid for

the US presidency. All of this sums up why it is important

for us as women’s rights and gender equality

advocates to take an intersectional approach to

our work. We cannot talk about gender - without

talking about race, class, sex and sexuality. As a

Black, African immigrant woman living in the Caribbean

- I cannot claim to fight for women’s rights

without adequately centring the struggles and oppression

of Black people, or poor people, or without

developing an understanding of climate change,

land rights, LGBT rights and so on. I think that part

of the problem we face in the Caribbean, is that

we are failing to adequately make the connections

between all of these interconnected issues.

TA: What can those on the front lines do to help

the message of gender equality make sense to

people?

AD: People have to understand things in plain terms

for it to make sense. In women’s rights spaces we

tend to use very academic language filled with jargon

and acronyms - MDG, SDG, VAW etc. If no one

understands us - how will they join us and work

with us? When you break it down into very basic

terms - and explain that we are not fighting for the

liberation of one group of people but for ALL people

I think it starts making more sense. I don’t want

a freedom that leaves people out on the basis of

their class, race, sexuality, access to resources and

so on.

TA: Activism and advocacy is often tiring work.

What advice would you have for those who find

themselves worn out and overwhelmed by it?

AD: I definitely can identify with activist burnout -

but there are many mechanisms I have put in place

to look after myself. For example, I choose not to

get swept up by social media. Social media can be

an exhausting space of endless banter with no real

purpose.

Pick your battles - not every fight on social media

requires your contribution. In many social media

spaces bad news takes precedence over the good.

As such, I am very selective about where and with

whom I engage with on social media and I do not

allow myself to become overwhelmed. I actively

remove myself from spaces that do not serve me.

Another self-care tactic that I have put in place

is to actively create art and media that visibilises

the beauty, love and light in the world. When I can

imagine and create the kind of world I want to live

in - I feel inspired and motivated to do my work.

Finally and in very practical terms - I look after my

body and my mind. As activists we tend to neglect

things like eating well, exercising and our mental

health. Every morning I start my day with quiet

time - where I write, read, pray, or meditate. I commit

time every day to cooking or preparing my food

using fresh (locally-grown) fruit and vegetables and

I try to get in at least 30 mins of exercise (even if

that is just walking around my house). Being well in

our bodies, minds and hearts is truly the first step

in any revolutionary practice.

DIRECTORATE OF GENDER AFFAIRS | THE ADVOCATE NEWSLETTER 11


GENDER AND HEALTH

THE ZIKA VIRUS

With the Zika virus circulating in 60 countries

worldwide there has been widespread concern

over the disease, particularly its effect on

expecting mothers.

The virus that causes Zika has been linked to an increased

risk of microcephaly in mothers who become

infected while pregnant and Brazil continues to be one

of the countries hit hardest by the virus. The South

American nation has recorded over 4000 new cases of

microcephaly believed to be linked to the Zika virus —

more than 20 times the numbers recorded in previous

years.

A special report in The New England Journal of Medicine

issued in April 2016 officially noted that infection

with the Zika virus during pregnancy can cause microcephaly.

The disorder is characterized by an abnormally

small head and incomplete brain development

which often results in other physical, mental, and cognitive

disabilities.

As Zika cases in Brazil have risen there have been calls

from health agencies there for women to avoid or delay

pregnancy if possible.

Since Antigua & Barbuda’s first case of the Zika virus

was reported in early May, the Ministry of Health has

issued a statement citing no need for immediate panic.

In response to the fervour over the virus the Directorate

is planning a gender and Zika forum to examine

the ways in which gender and the virus intersect and

how women can protect themselves and their families.

Ahead of the forum here are few things to keep in

mind.

• Zika is transmitted by the Aedes Egypti mosquito

which also transmits dengue, malaria and yellow

fever. The mosquito is easily recognizable by the

telltale black and white bands across its body.

• The best way to avoid Zika is to avoid mosquito

bites. The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) suggests

staying in places with air conditioning and using

door and window screens to keep mosquitoes

outside. Get rid of all potential mosquito breeding

sites such as pools of standing or stagnant water.

• The disease can also be sexually transmitted. Evidence

suggests that men can spread the virus to

their partners through seminal fluids. Couples living

in or who have travelled to areas where there

are recorded cases of the virus (especially those

who are expecting) are encouraged to use condoms

to prevent the spread of the virus.

• A person infected with the Zika virus may show no

symptoms at all. When they do appear symptoms

are usually mild and include fever, rash, joint pain,

redness of the eyes, nausea, and headache. These

can appear anywhere from a few days to a week after

infection and often go away on their own within

a week.

• If you think you may have been infected please report

to your nearest health clinic or the MSJMC for

an evaluation.

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THE ADVOCATE NEWSLETTER | DIRECTORATE OF GENDER AFFAIRS


HIV & GENDER/ REGIONAL TESTING DAY

Thanks to rapid testing technology patients can now get tested for HIV in as little as 15 minutes

When the AIDS epidemic first began affecting

Antigua & Barbuda in 1985 men made up the

bulk of those infected. But now, more than 30

years on, Senior Counseling Educator in the National HIV

programme, Oswald Hannays says that is beginning to

change.

Hannays was one of the testers who participated in the

AIDS Secretariat’s free HIV screenings for Regional Testing

Day. The occasion was observed on June 24, 2016 in

collaboration with Scotiabank.

In an interview with the Directorate he noted that more

women than ever are becoming infected with the virus.

“In 1985 male to female ratio was very different. There

were higher numbers of males than there were females

but within recent times and certainly within the last five

years or so what we have seen is that has increased to a

1:1 ratio,” he said.

“What that means is that the gap has closed in terms of

the transmission rates [and] what is of concern to me... is

that over time we may begin to see a greater number of

females becoming infected.”

Research has shown that women are at three to five times

greater risk for becoming infected with HIV than men are.

The reason for this, Hannays explained, is two-fold.

The structure of the vagina makes women, susceptible

to mild bruising around the vaginal canal during sex,

especially when there is an absence of foreplay. Then

there’s the matter of semen. Male ejaculate can remain

in the vaginal canal for up to three days after intercourse,

lengthening a woman’s exposure time and increasing her

risk of infection.

He also noted that men who are circumcised are at less

risk than those who are not.

“So over time as more males become circumcised we

may see less men becoming infected with the virus but

it will continue to occur among women once they are exposed,”

he said.

Statistics show that HIV/AIDs primarily affects people

aged 15 to 49, more and more of whom are women. In

the United States women account for 20 percent of new

HIV cases and the number of women diagnosed with the

disease has more than tripled since 1985.

HIV is spread most often through sexual intercourse, but

can also be contracted by sharing dirty needles, breastfeeding

and blood transfusions. Since the start of the epidemic

the region has made strides in its HIV awareness

campaigns and Antigua & Barbuda has been able to reduce

its mother to child transmission of the disease to

record lows.

However the Secretariat has recorded an increase in the

number of new HIV infections for the first quarter of 2016.

Hannays also pointed to unhealthy attitudes towards sex

as part of the problem.

“One thing I’ve noticed in Antigua is we have a lot of sex

but we talk very little about sex,” he said. “We don’t talk

about the things that are affecting us sexually in our relationships.”

He added that issues of gender-based and sexual violence

may further complicate matters for women as victims of

rape can contract the virus from their attacker. Women in

abusive relationships might also have difficulty negotiating

condom use or talking to their partners about fidelity

and safety.

If you are interested in an HIV screening please see your

healthcare provider or contact the AIDS Secretariat.

DIRECTORATE OF GENDER AFFAIRS | THE ADVOCATE NEWSLETTER 13


CARIBBEAN FOCUS

DOMINICA

The Dominica Bureau of Gender Affairs took

on several initiatives during this past quarter.

During April, Sexual Assault Awareness

Month, the Bureau with assistance from several

of its partners organized Dominica’s first “Sex

Week”. The campaign, which ran from Monday

April 25th (Orange Day) to Friday April 29, 2016,

sought to change attitudes, perceptions and discourses

on the issue of sex, and ultimately reduce

the levels of sexual offences recorded nationally.

“Given the disturbing statistics of sexual assaults

on women and girls within the context of Dominica,

the Bureau and its partners believe it is important

that conversations about sex and sexual

health become less taboo so that there may be

less social issues including child sexual abuse,

[and] teen pregnancy,” the agency noted.

The Bureau also said that non-testing practices

for HIV/AIDS and other STI’s are often associated

with a reluctance to have conversations about

sex.

The week was commemorated through a number

of activities, including HIV/AIDS testing at the

Dominica State College, radio discussions, and

social media conversations.

The Bureau of Gender Affairs also held a weeklong

Theatre-in-Education Training to encourage

local theatre and performing arts groups to integrate

educational work around gender-based

violence in artistic missions. The training sessions,

themed “Stop the Violence”, were facilitat-

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THE ADVOCATE NEWSLETTER | DIRECTORATE OF GENDER AFFAIRS


ed by Arts-in-Action of Trinidad and Tobago and

formed part of the Bureau’s three-year Social

Mobilization Campaign against Gender-Based

Violence. The Bureau described the theatre

training as a contemporary and relevant means

of raising awareness on GBV that can stimulate

change and trigger public action against violence.

They also hosted a Crisis Intervention workshop

which targeted front-line staff, community workers,

service providers, self-identified women

and men, or natural caregivers who may come

in direct contact with persons at risk of or survivors

of GBV or domestic violence provided approximately

19 trainees with some knowledge,

techniques and skills to prevent and respond to

crises and GBV.

THE BAHAMAS

In the early days of June voters in the Bahamas

voted “no” to a constitutional amendment

that would have made it unconstitutional for

Parliament to pass any laws that discriminate

based on sex. The populous also voted against

three other bills that would give men and women

equal rights with regards to citizenship.

According to caribbean360.com, the rejected

amendments would have allowed children

born outside of the Bahamas to obtain Bahamian

citizenship from either their Bahamian

father or mother, in circumstances where the

other parent is not Bahamian; enabled a Bahamian

woman who marries a non-Bahamian

man to secure for him the same ability to apply

for Bahamian citizenship currently afforded to

a Bahamian man married to a non-Bahamian

woman; and allowed an unmarried Bahamian

man to pass on his Bahamian citizenship to a

child fathered with a non- Bahamian woman.

Bahamian Prime Minister Perry Christie, whose

government had run an aggressive Vote Yes

campaign prior to the referendum, described

the loss as a “setback” but said the referendum

was fair, transparent and open and the voice of

the people would be respected and honoured.

In a statement released after the voting Christie

said he would never stop believing that the

sons and daughters of his country deserved

equal rights in the Constitution and equal treatment

under for the sexes under the law.

“We believe that when the dust clears, there

will be room and time for proper reflection. Although

the rejection of the gender equality bills

is clearly a setback for the programme of constitutional

reform, it is by no means an end to

it,” he said.

He promised to return to Cabinet for further

consultations on how to further the country’s

constitutional reform programme.

DIRECTORATE OF GENDER AFFAIRS | THE ADVOCATE NEWSLETTER 15


YOUTH ADVOCACY CORNER

WHERE DO YOUTH STAND ON GENDER EQUALITY?

KYLA BURTON

Discriminatory gender norms are a central underpinning

factor affecting the lives of young people

in the Commonwealth today. Issues ranging from

discrimination in employment, to sexual violence, to

child marriage are all products of deep-rooted gender inequality.

Although young people have often been victims

of gender-based discrimination they are also well placed

to combat these problems and build equality.

What do you see happening in Antigua and Barbuda

as it relates to our youths? When asked many respond,

“Plenty. The youths are being engaged.” And

on the other hand, a large number of young people

will tell you that it is not the case, especially as it relates

to the fight in achieving gender equality.

As young people growing up in Antigua & Barbuda,

we have had our fair share of gender inequality impressed

upon us. It starts in the home and spreads

into the education system and religious entities. However,

like me, a large number of the youths are simply

rejecting the stereotypical traditions and norms that

are thrown our way. So while on the battlefront there

is no direct line of young people campaigning, there

is a growing platoon of youths defying the status quo.

The gender equality movement to the youths of

Antigua & Barbuda is not seen as being radical or

outrageous; it is viewed as being necessity.

In a society where the youths are described as “future

leaders” and told to follow their dreams it is

quite ironic that these future leaders and dream followers

are blinded and constrained by the same cataract

that has kept us from seeing clearly.

In a conversation with a seasoned teacher stationed

at a local secondary school, she lamented the fact

that her male students are barred from taking subjects

such as home economics which is traditionally

female oriented. In the students’ attempts to take

the subject, the subject teachers have continually rejected

the idea of boys being in the female oriented

class and vice versa for the male oriented subjects as

it relates to females taking a key interest in these subjects.

As we the youth continually defy the status quo,

we see many older members in society kicking up a

storm insisting that we are being influenced by the

media and all the evils around. However what they

have failed to realize is that we have acknowledged

the fact that everyone is entitled to their full human

rights.

Recently in a panel discussion on the radio programme

Youth-ology the panelists debated the purpose

of signing on to several international treaties

and agreements, in particular the Universal Declaration

of Human Rights. One panelist openly said it is

pointless to sign the declaration if we are not afforded

these rights as human beings in our own domestic

countries. As the youths become more truthful to

themselves in discovering their identities having laws

that fully support these agreements will go a long way

in achieving gender equality, particularly here in Antigua

& Barbuda.

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THE ADVOCATE NEWSLETTER | DIRECTORATE OF GENDER AFFAIRS


ARTWORK FROM MARITZA MARTIN

This quarter’s youth advocacy contributor is,

young Antiguan artist, Martiza Martin,. Her work

has been featured in local art galleries. She has

also contributed to the Directorate of Gender Affairs

Art &Gender Café, 16 Days of Activism and the 2016

International Woman’s Day Future Forum and Art

Exhibition. For Maritza, creating her pieces and revelling

in her womanhood are one and the same.

“Womanhood to me is exploration and a continuous

blooming,” she says.

“With art, I use images and concepts that represent

what being a woman feels like to me, like the creative

dance between nature and the feminine aspects.

Understanding that those two things are very

much the same.”

DIRECTORATE OF GENDER AFFAIRS | THE ADVOCATE NEWSLETTER 17


DID YOU KNOW?

The CEDAW is different from other human rights treaties in

that it addresses the impact of cultural factors on gender relations

and is also concerned with human reproduction and

reproductive rights.

Location: Corner of Nevis Street & Friednly Alley

Phone: (268) 462-3990/ 462-1411

Fax: (268) 462-9664

24 Hour Crisis Hotline: (268) 463-5555

Email: gender.ab.gov.ag

Website: www.genderaffairs.gov.ag

Facebook: Directorate of Gender Affairs

Instagram: doga.ab

Skype: doga.ab

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THE ADVOCATE NEWSLETTER | DIRECTORATE OF GENDER AFFAIRS

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