As Chair of Jersey’s Commonwealth Parliamentary Association I have worked with lawmakers across the Commonwealth family to champion women’s participation in the democratic process. I also took a lead role in Jersey ratifying the UN’s Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against
Women (CEDAW) in 2021. Having led the successful campaign to extend the franchise to 16 and 17-year olds, I have been delighted to chair the Youth
Parliament in the States Assembly. I have also been pursing the support and provision we make for the Deaf Community in the Island.
The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women “CEDAW”
Ensuring women have equal opportunity in Jersey is an issue I have been pursuing for many years. It was therefore a milestone moment for me – as well as Jersey – when in 2021 I was able to participate in an event to celebrate the extension of the ‘Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against
Women’ (CEDAW) to Jersey. This is a core UN human rights treaty, often described as the international bill of rights for women.
Now ratified, it means that women will – finally – enjoy equal opportunity in the Island. This long-overdue step not only demonstrates that Jersey complies with its international obligations, but also makes a public commitment towards further reducing discrimination against women and girls, and ensuring they are seen
as equal members of our society.
At the event in May, we were privileged to welcome HE Yamuna Karitanyi, the Rwandan High Commissioner to the UK, to Jersey. Rwanda is very advanced and proactive in ensuring women play an equal role in public life, with almost two thirds of their elected representatives being women. We also welcomed the strategic lead for the at the UN children’s rights committee together with Baroness Berridge, the UK Minister for Women.
Jersey now stands alongside the 189 other countries who have ratified this agreement since 1979. The treaty gives us an international perspective against which we can benchmark our progress – highlighting where we can and must do better – and also makes us party to an international conversation and an international standard.
Moderator / Chair: Lisa Springate, Head of Legal and Technical (Jersey Finance)
- Deputy Judy Martin, Jersey Minister for Social Security
- Deputy Carolyn Labey, Jersey Minister for International Development
- Baroness Berridge, UK Minister for Women
- H.E. Yamina Karitanyi, Rwandan High Commissioner to the UK
- Dragan Nastic, Strategic Lead UNCRC, UK Unicef
In 2007 Jersey made the history books as I successfully extended the right to vote to 16 and 17 years olds in the Island. It attracted the interest in the UK and I was interview in Radio 4’s Today Programme. I wanted to do this for our young people because I couldn’t actually see why we would deny those interested in their Island that Right. I felt that many of them who leave at 18 when they finish school and don’t return for many years, will have never of participated in the Elections in the Island they grew up in. I appreciate it goes hand-in-hand with education about the Island’s Constitution and Electoral system, and I have now provided a learning resource on the Island Identity website. The Commonwealth does a good job of organising a Youth Assembly each year and the Young People who participate in it are a force to be reckoned with some great ideas and debating skills.
I have been privileged to get to know members of the Deaf Community and learn a little bit more about their needs and how life could be made a lot easier for them if they were given more consideration and proper support. I am happy to champion their needs and include their community in the design of new