TRINIDAD and Tobago national Prof Rhoda Reddock has been appointed to the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). We take the opportunity to today congratulate Reddock whose appointment is a fitting one which will shine a light on our efforts to achieve gender parity.
The CEDAW is a panel of experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. This convention, established in 1979, urges signatory states “to ensure the equal rights of men and women to enjoy all economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights.”
The monitoring committee consists of 23 experts on women’s rights from around the world.
Reddock, who received the highest number of votes at Thursday’s meeting of state parties, joins representatives from Peru, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Egypt, Georgia, Mauritius, Spain, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, and Burkina Faso. A total of 104 experts have served as members of the committee since 1982.
Reddock’s background in this arena makes her eminently qualified for the post. She is a former head of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies of the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, and a former deputy principal of the campus.
As Professor of Gender, Social Change and Development, she has been involved in professional academic activities such as teaching, advising, graduate supervision, research, and public service. Her latest appointment looks set to continue that thread.
Membership of the CEDAW is a serious responsibility, requiring a high level of independent advocacy. Committee members are expected to serve in their personal capacities, not as representatives of the states that present their candidature. Therefore, Reddock will not be hamstrung by the crippling delays and inane bureaucracy that is so often a feature of the administration of our foreign affairs.
The need for gender parity is undoubtedly a global issue. The gender divide knows no boundaries. While strides have been made, there is a long way to go. For instance, many note the irony that the United Nations is yet to have a female secretary general. That fact reflects the nature of the UN itself: its officials are largely selected by member states, reflecting the trends there.
Still, Reddock’s appointment comes at an exciting time in the region. Barbados recently elected its first female prime minister, Mia Mottley, who has already made history by achieving the first electoral wipeout in a general election anywhere in the Commonwealth. We wish Reddock all the best in her new post and have no doubt that through her keen insight she will help strengthen international efforts to bring about a fairer, equal world.