Minister of State Hon. Samantha Marshall addresses wide range of matters during CSW Conference at UN
NEW YORK – 9th March, 2023…Minister of State with responsibility for Social Transformation the Hon. Samantha Marshall addressed a number of pertinent matters related to the protection and advancement of women and girls in Antigua and Barbuda during the 67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations in New York.
Minister Marshall was at the time speaking during a Ministerial Roundtable this week that discussed fostering inclusive innovation and technological change to empower women and girls and create safer digital spaces.
She shared Antigua and Barbuda’s interest and investment in Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), noting that 80 percent of current employment opportunities now and in the future are linked to this field.
Marshall further acknowledged the unsafe spaces for women and girls within the digital world which this year’s observation of International Women’s Day addressed in its theme “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality”.
But she went on to highlight the progress being made in Antigua and Barbuda to foster safer digital spaces such as the country’s Electronic Crimes Act, and the adoption of remote, virtual testimony through the model sexual offenses court.
“Antigua and Barbuda introduced laws to protect against cybercrimes and acts of electronic abuse to create safe spaces for our girls and women within the digital world. Such legislation penalizes several cybercrimes to include cyber bullying, violation of privacy and pornography,” Minister Marshall shared.
She further declared that Antigua and Barbuda being the only OECS jurisdiction to have a Support and Referral Centre and the first model court for sexual offenses within the same jurisdiction has used the digital space to create safe spaces for victims of sexual offences.
“Hence, such victims can give their evidence before the Court free of any intimidation or threat of the accused by doing so virtually in accordance with the relevant legislation. Antigua and Barbuda can and will still do more to ensure that we create safe spaces for our women and girls within the digital world,” Minister Marshall explained.
Minister Marshall also spoke about opportunities in STEM that have been provided for young women such as the Ministry of Education’s robotics camp which was held for the first time in 2022 and will now be an annual event.
The Government of Antigua and Barbuda, Minister Marshall further noted, is committed to fostering equitable participation in tech spaces and to continuously improve legislation to protect women and girls by ensuring equal access and safety through design.
“We will also continue to develop programmes and support programmes which ensure that we continue to break the barriers and stigma as to women involved in digital access, innovation and technology,” Minister Marshall told the Ministerial meeting.