The Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare in collaboration with the Association for Population and Development launched the 'Men as Caring Partners' project yesterday at Trèfles Community Centre in Rose-Hill in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Energy and Public Utilities, Mr Ivan Collendavelloo, the Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo, and other personalities.
The objective of the 'Men as Caring Partners' project, which is a gender sensitive project based on community involvement, partnership building, and concerted efforts, is to mobilise men to take an active stand for gender equality and against gender-based violence. The project comprises five components namely human rights; entertain to educate; training and counselling sessions; communicate for a change in behaviour; and an integrated approach with the contribution of Government and the civil society.
In his address, the Deputy Prime Minister stressed that a change in mindset and behaviour is required in the Mauritian society for the country to achieve gender equality. Citing the example of the gender mainstreaming initiative across Ministries and parastatal organisations, he pointed out that Government is striving to put an end to gender inequitable norms and practices within public institutions to reach gender equity. Mr Collendavelloo also highlighted the efforts of the Central Water Authority in working towards gender parity at all levels of the organisation. Stressing that women are as competent as men and should be given equal opportunities, he deplored that the change is slower at the Central Electricity Board where men are more reticent in welcoming female counterparts and acknowledging their efficiency and capabilities.
On the other hand, the Deputy Prime Minister underlined the remarkable progress achieved with regards to gender equality. The main achievements include girls doing better than boys in education; women accessing institutions and facilities such as loans without the need for their husband or father's permission; and the presence of more women in the judiciary and at the head of Ministries and Public Organisations. Nevertheless, there is still much more to be done with gender stereotyping and discrimination hindering the advancement of the country towards a gender-equal society, Mr Collendavelloo pointed out. He called for a change in attitudes and viewpoints by starting early on in families.
For her part, Minister Jeewa-Daureeawoo highlighted that the participation of men and boys in support of gender equality can help families attain harmony and happiness. She said that through the 'Men as Caring Partners Project', men can understand that as fathers they have a key role in bringing in gender parity and ending stereotypes within the families by being a model for their children and teaching them the right values.
According to the Minister, the 'Men as Caring Partners Project' will be extended to the community and social centres across the country with a view to reach a larger number of male folk and raise their awareness on gender sensitive issues and family welfare related matters. The goal, underlined Mrs Jeewa-Daureeawoo, is to assist men in becoming supportive partners so as to constructively share family responsibilities and build healthy families.