Commitment to gender equality is vital to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Suriname, a NAM Member State, is committed to achieving gender equality as the country realises that the most complex processes of change and development in a society is the process to achieve gender equality. The principle of equality between men and women is enshrined in the Surinamese Constitution, namely in Article 35: “Man and woman are equal before the law”. The Suriname Gender Vision Policy Document 2021 –2035 elaborates on Suriname’s obligations to achieve gender equality and empowerment of women and girls.
A period of approximately 15 years has been selected so as the goals of the 2030 World Agenda and the national goals can be better coordinated and the vision of development and intended change can also be better articulated. The intentions are that this gender vision policy plan will be integrated in the national development plans of Suriname for the coming year.
The plan’s vision is that in 2035, Surinamese society is free of gender discrimination, gender stereotypes and gender-related violence, in the public as well as the private spheres. Gender equality and equity, shared responsibility, equal opportunities and equal access to all sectors, funds and resources, are central. The Ministry of Home Affairs and the Bureau Gender Affairs (BGA), are responsible for the national gender policy. This bureau will also have to coordinate, supervise and monitor the national gender policy for the period 2021 –2035.
In the coming 15 years, the following general strategies will constantly be applied in the implementation of the gender policy: 1) Ample attention for education and awareness for the general public on gender inequality, discrimination and stereotyping in society, focusing in particular on the target group of young people; 2) Improving data and information gathering, and strengthen the ability to carry out gender analyses, in view of a targeted gender policy and efficient gender mainstreaming; 3) Intensifying cooperation with the General Bureau of Statistics (ABS); 4) Involve and cooperate with civil society organisations to promote gender equality and equity, reduce gender discrimination and stereotyping, and combat gender violence; 5) Involve and cooperate with actors representing Indigenous and Maroon women, or who are knowledgeable of the multiple disadvantages and the specific measures that are required; 6) Build networks and partnerships to improve cooperation within government structures, as well as with structures and organisations outside of government; 7) Achieve gender equality and equity through support from a leading international framework and cooperation with regional and international organisations; and 7) Draft legislation in consultation and/or amend discriminatory legislation in line with international obligations and prevent gender-related discrimination.
The document lists out a number of priority areas and strategic goals. The first priority area is Labour, Income and Poverty Reduction and the strategic goal is that by 2035, the number of people living in poverty has fallen and insight is gained into the informal sector, unpaid care work and work in the home, particularly with a view to supporting women trying to produce income under difficult economic condition. Education is the second priority area. According to the strategic goal, in 2035, gender inequalities in education with regard to numbers of girls and boys, women and men, will have been eliminated.
Curricula will be gender-sensitive and teachers and other stakeholders in the educational sector will understand gender equality and prevention of gender stereotyping in school. The third area is Health and the strategic goal is that by 2035, maternal mortality has been reduced to the level determined in the 2030 World Agenda for Sustainable Development, reproductive health and rights in Suriname have improved, and a gender perspective is taken into account in policy formulation and execution in the health sector.
The fourth priority area is power and decision making and the strategic goal is that in 2035, there is full, equal, free and democratic participation of women in political and public life, and women and men are equally represented in all public and private decision-making structures in the country. The fifth priority area is elimination of gender-related violence. The strategic goal is that by 2035, gender-related violence will have decreased and access to help and legal services for victims and perpetrators will have been improved and increase. The sixth regulatory framework is strengthening legal and regulatory framework. The strategic goal is that by 2035, all legislation will have been adapted, strengthened and approved and implemented to promote gender equality and to eliminate gender-related discrimination in Suriname. The seventh priority area is environment and climate change. According to the strategic goal, by 2035, all women will be actively involved in decision-making with regard to the environment, biodiversity and climate change at all levels, gender issues and gender perspectives will have been integrated into policy measures and programmes for sustainable development.
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