September 19, 2020

Defending your gender with Ms. Tammy Ebanks

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iWoman looks at gender discrimination today with views from Ms. Tammy Ebanks of the Ministry of Community Affairs, Gender and Housing.

Gender is often confused with sex, the two words are related but have different meanings.

We are born male or female but we learn to become woman or man. Male and female is our biological sex while man or woman describes our gender.

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is the only international human rights treaty left to be signed by the Cayman Islands and since the bill being passed we will now be able to sign.

The bill incorporates protection from gender discrimination in employment, training and hiring for both sexes.

Ms. Ebanks said: “This is a new way of thinking, it’s a shift in thinking and obviously with that is going to come change.

“Change in how we go about business, doing business and with that comes challenges.”

Ms. Ebanks went on to say what the gender bill will provide and how it will help the community as well as its background.

She added: “The gender equality bill is going to provide protection from gender discrimination and employment training and hiring.

“Promoting equal pay for equal work also the issue of sexual harassment is in there because that would be a form of sex discrimination.

“It’s calling for equal treatment in the provision of good services and facilities as well.

“The bill promotes the spirit of CEDAW which is supporting the principle of equality between men and women.”

When asked about the current situation on gender affairs Ms. Ebanks was able to shed some light.

“We know of things on an anecdotal level but we don’t have a mechanism in place to track it,” she said.

“We hear of women being asked during hiring processes questions like, what are your pregnancy plans or your child care arrangements, the point here is would they have asked that of a man, probably not because their expectation is that because
you’re a woman your going to be taking care of the kids.

Ms. Ebanks added that within the gender bill, there is provision to set up a gender equality tribunal that would hear all of the claims that are covered by this law.

The Gender Equality Bill was put forward to the Legislative Assembly and passed on September 14th 2011. It will come into effect as of January 31st 2012.

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