225. The Committee is concerned that the Constitution, which recognizes women’s right to equality before the law and guarantees the fundamental rights and freedoms of all individuals, does not prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sex, and that there is no legislative definition of “discrimination against women” reflecting article 1 of the Convention, which prohibits both direct and indirect discrimination. It is further concerned about the lack of information provided about procedures available to women to enforce their rights under the Convention, challenge discrimination and obtain redress.
226. The Committee recommends that the State party take steps to include in the Constitution and/or legislation a specific right of non-discrimination on the grounds of sex, defined in accordance with article 1 of the Convention. It calls on the State party to introduce procedures that will allow the enforcement of the prohibition on discrimination based on sex and to introduce effective measures, including public awareness-raising campaigns about the Convention, the Constitution and remedies to implement women’s right to equality. The Committee requests that the State party report on progress made in this regard in its next periodic report and that it provide information on whether the Convention has been invoked before domestic courts.
227. The Committee notes the lack of information on whether the Office of the Ombudsman established to address public grievances has received and considered complaints of violations of women’s rights.
228. The Committee requests the State party to include in its next periodic report information on the work and cases considered by the Office of the Ombudsman relating to discrimination against women. The Committee also recommends that the State party take measures to ensure that the Office of the Ombudsman incorporates a gender perspective in its work.
229. The Committee is concerned that the Bureau of Gender Affairs within the Ministry of Social Transformation, tasked with mainstreaming the concept of gender into all policies, plans and programmes of the Government, monitoring their implementation and carrying out sensitivity training in public and private agencies, does not have adequate human, financial and material resources. It notes that a National Advisory Committee on Gender Affairs has been created to assist the Bureau and advise the Government on trends and developments in gender issues, and that focal points have been appointed to form an inter-ministerial committee and ensure that programmes within their agencies and departments are gender-focused.
230. The Committee recommends that the State party ensure that the Bureau of Gender Affairs is provided with adequate human, financial and material resources to give it sustainability, visibility and effectiveness and to ensure continual effective implementation of governmental policies and programmes related to gender equality. It also encourages gender mainstreaming in all ministries.
231. While recognizing the existence of a range of services and programmes designed to eliminate discrimination against women, and the identification of five priority areas based on the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the Committee is concerned that no overall national plan of action has been formulated. It is also concerned that the impact of existing measures and programmes has yet to be evaluated.
232. The Committee recommends that the State party formulate an integrated national plan of action to fully address the issue of discrimination against women in all its aspects. It also urges the State party to make an assessment of the measures already implemented with a view to further improvements.
233. The Committee remains concerned about entrenched stereotypical attitudes and behaviour, which tend to reinforce women’s inferior status in all spheres of life, and regrets that the State party has not undertaken sustained programmes to change these social and cultural attitudes and patterns of behaviour that lead to stereotyping.
234. The Committee calls upon the State party to strengthen measures aimed at changing stereotypical attitudes about the roles and responsibilities of women and men, including through sustained awareness-raising designed in collaboration with the media and women’s non-governmental organizations and educational campaigns directed at both women and men. The Committee emphasizes that a policy of gender equality in compliance with the Convention will require the recognition that women can have various roles in society, not only the important role of mother and wife, exclusively responsible for children and the family, but also as an individual person and actor in the community and in the society in general.
235. The Committee is concerned at the limited information provided on trafficking in women and girls and their exploitation in prostitution in the State party’s report. The Committee is concerned that there is no data on prostitution and that the issue is not being addressed.
236. The Committee recommends the introduction of policies to ensure the prosecution of, and strong penalties for, those who exploit prostitutes. In view of the growing emphasis on tourism in the State party, the Committee requests it to provide in its next report comprehensive information and data on the trafficking of women and girls and their exploitation in prostitution and the measures taken to prevent and combat these activities.
237. Despite the extensive work of NGOs and other and community organizations and the facilitating role played by the State party, the Committee expresses concern that violence against women, including domestic violence, remains a serious reality in Barbados. The Committee is concerned that the bulk of the statistical data on violence and abuse collected by the Probation Department, the Police and the Registration Department is not disaggregated by sex.
238. The Committee urges the State party to place a high priority on measures to address violence against women in the family and in society in accordance with the Committee’s general recommendation 19. The Committee urges the State party to strengthen its activities and programmes to focus on sexual violence, sexual crimes, incest and prostitution, especially prostitution associated with tourism, and to provide comprehensive training for the judiciary, the police, medical personnel and other relevant groups on all forms of violence against women, including domestic violence. The Committee recommends that the State party devise a structure for systematic data collection on violence against women, including domestic violence, disaggregated by sex. It also calls on the State party to provide this data in its next periodic report.
239. While welcoming the recognition of marital rape as a sexual offence, the Committee notes with concern that, under the Sexual Offences Act, marital rape is recognized as a crime only after the issuance of a decree of divorce, a separation order or a separation agreement, or where the husband is subject to a non-molestation order.
240. The Committee urges the State party to consider defining marital rape to include circumstances of de facto separation, and to create awareness of the legal remedies so that offenders can be prosecuted and punished. The Committee requests information on cases prosecuted under the Sexual Offences Act in the State party’s next periodic report.
241. The Committee is concerned that, despite the fact that the State party has identified women’s participation in decision-making as one of its five priorities and despite the high level of education of Barbadian women, little has been achieved in terms of women’s representation in decision-making positions in the political sphere. In this context, the Committee expresses concern that the State party lacks a clear understanding of the application of temporary special measures, according to article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention.
242. The Committee recommends the adoption of strategies to increase the number of women in decision-making positions, both in appointed and elected government bodies. The Committee recommends that the State party adopt temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention to increase women’s representation. It also recommends that the State party organize special training programmes for women and to conduct, on a regular basis, awareness-raising campaigns in this regard. It recommends that the State party sensitize political parties and social partners about the importance of these measures.
243. The Committee notes the absence of statistical data on wages disaggregated by sex, the absence of statutory parental leave for fathers and the apparent lack of equal employment opportunity legislation.
244. The Committee recommends broad collection of data disaggregated by sex with regard to wages and urges the State party to include these in the next report. The Committee also recommends the adoption of an equal employment opportunity law and a legislative provision on parental leave for fathers.
245. While acknowledging the State party’s social policy, which has introduced services and programmes, including the Poverty Eradication Fund, to boost entrepreneurial activities and increase self-employment and create more employment among women and youth, the Committee is concerned at the feminization of poverty and, in particular, that women head approximately 44.4 per cent of households.
246. The Committee recommends that the State party ensure that governmental policies to eradicate poverty are sustainable, incorporate a gender perspective and do not marginalize women.
247. While noting the State party’s adolescent health programme, which covers a wide range of issues, including human sexuality and HIV/AIDS, and other policies and activities with respect to AIDS education and sensitization, the Committee is concerned that the number of women infected with HIV/AIDS has been increasing more rapidly than that of men.
248. The Committee urges the State party to address the gender dimensions of HIV/AIDS, including the power differential between women and men, which often prevents women from insisting on safe and responsible sex practices. It encourages the State party to strengthen its efforts to raise awareness and educate women and girls on ways of self-protection.
249. The Committee is concerned about the increasing number of teenage pregnancies and its consequences for girls’ enjoyment of the rights guaranteed by the Convention, particularly in the spheres of education and health.
250. The Committee recommends that the State party increase efforts to include age-appropriate sex education in school curricula and to conduct awareness campaigns so as to prevent teenage pregnancy. The Committee requests the State party to include information on the impact of programmes to prevent teenage pregnancy in its next periodic report.
251. The Committee notes that the report does not address the Committee’s concluding comments on the second and third periodic reports. It also notes the limited amount of sex-disaggregated data in several areas.
252. The Committee urges the State party to respond in its next periodic report to the outstanding issues that were brought up in the constructive dialogue and the specific issues raised in the present concluding comments. It also urges the State party to improve the collection and analysis of statistical data, disaggregated by gender and age, and to submit such data to the Committee in its next report.
253. The Committee encourages the State party to continue its procedures towards ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention and acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention, relating to the Committee’s meeting time.
254. Taking account of the gender dimensions of declarations, programmes and platforms for action adopted by relevant United Nations conferences, summits and special sessions (such as the special session of the General Assembly to review and appraise the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (the twenty-first special session), the special session on children (the twenty-seventh special session), the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and the Second World Assembly on Ageing), the Committee requests the State party to include information on the implementation of aspects of these documents relating to relevant articles of the Convention in its next periodic report.
255. The Committee requests that the text of the present concluding comments be widely disseminated in Barbados so as to inform the public, in particular administrators, officials and politicians, of the measures taken to guarantee de jure and de facto equality between men and women and of the supplementary measures to be adopted in that area. The Committee also urges the State party to give broad publicity to the Convention, its Optional Protocol, the general recommendations of the Committee, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the results of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”, which was held in June 2000, particularly among women’s associations and human rights organizations.