Why the WIProject?
1984-1989—No woman minister
1989-1993—No woman minister
1993-1998—Hon. Faith Babb (Minister of State)
1998-2003—Hon. Dolores Balderamos-Garcia (Minister)
2000-2003—Hon. Ana Patty Arceo (Minister of State)
2003-2008 —Hon. Sylvia Flores (Minister)
2007-2008—Sen. the Hon. Lisa Shoman (Minister)
2008— (No woman minister)
Just a cursory glance above is proof positive that from 1984-2009, over a 25-year span of time in Belize’s political history, women have not really made any political gains worthy of its country’s history books. In fact it is safe enough to conclude that regression has occurred.
The committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in its concluding comments to Belize in 2007, urges the state party to “effectively use temporary special measures in order to accelerate the realization of women’s de facto equality with men in all areas.” The committee urges Belize “to establish concrete goals, such as quotas and timetables, to accelerate achievement of substantive equality between men and women for each area of the convention.”
The Beijing Platform for Action, emanating from the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 reminds us that “without the active participation of women and the incorporation of women’s perspective at all levels of decision-making, the goals of equality, development and peace cannot be achieved.”
The Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015, makes us mindful once again that raising women’s political representation in Belize is one of the major pillars in realizing Goal 3- “Promote Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.”
How did the WIProject come about?
The United Nations Fund for Women (UNIFEM) announced a public call for proposals for 4 grants not exceeding U.S. $40,000 each, in areas of women’s political participation, domestic violence, human rights/security and HIV/AIDS. The NWC successfully won one of the grants from among 15 other bids in June 2009, to raise women’s political representation in Belize.
1. Project Title: Women in Politics Project (WIProject)
2. Duration: August 2009-January 2011 (16 mths.)
3. Organisation: The National Women’s Commission (N.W.C.) & WIN-Belize
4. Organisation’s Mandate:
The National Women;s Commission is a body of individual women and men appointed by the government to function as a strategic guidance and oversight mechanism for the achievement of gender equality, equity and women’s empowerment in Belize (GEEWE). The commissioners are appointed for two years and can be re-appointed to serve another term. They serve in their individual capacity and receive no financial compensation.
5. Brief Description of Project:
The project has five components:
1) Evaluate the publication “Women in Politics–Seeking Opportunities for Leadership in Belize.” and others to determine factors which prevented women from being in leadership positions.
2) Reprint the said publication and produce a women in leadership book with a photo exhibit. Project title-“Daughter’s of the Mangrove”
3) Bi-partisan brainstorming session with the leaders of the two main political parties to examine the findings.
4) Advocate for formal adoption of proposed strategies & monitor the implementation of selected strategies
5) Training program for women in both theory and practical:
- The Representation of the People’s Act
- Parliamentary Procedures
- How to run a campaign
- Campaign financing
- Politics & the Media
- How to craft your political message
- Team Building: How to build winning teams
- Gender Training & The National Gender Policy
- Introduction to Computer
- Sessions with women politicians
Observing conventions & Campaigning
6. Target Population:
Any woman, particularly young and indigenous women who seriously feel that she is willing to stand for village, municipal/town council or general elections. The participants in the program can also be women who are presently involved in politics, e.g. a city/town councilor who sees the training opportunity as a way to enhance her political career.
Training, working sessions, presentations, documentation and discussion.
8. Expected Results/Outputs:
The target population will:
- Familiarize themselves with the findings of the “Women in Politics publication.”
- and be able to articulate some of today’s challenges regarding women’s leadership e.g. political, community etc.
- Receive training, education and awareness to address the inequalities between men and women in political leadership and decision-making in Belize.
- Have a working knowledge of gender and gender roles.
- Strategies outlined in a proposal document which have bi-partisan support.
- A research publication (with photos) paying homage to outstanding women leaders in Belize along with a photo collection.
- A group of 30 trained women who are confident they are in a position to stand for elections.
Copies of “Women in Politics: Seeking Opportunities for Leadership in Belize” on sale.