Barbadian Rosina Wiltshire has been appointed the First Caribbean Community Advocate for Gender Justice for the year 2010. The establishment of an Office of the Special Advocate against Gender Based Violence (GBV) underpins the strategy to reduce the high incidence of violence against women in the Caribbean. On International Women’s Day, March 8 (2010), she delivered her remarks as first CARICOM Advocate for Gender Justice at the launch of the Gender Advocacy Program in Georgetown, Guynana.
As part of her terms of reference, Dr. Rosina Wiltshire will coordinate research on GBV. Funded under the CARICOM/Spain Cooperation Agreement, the two-year project seeks to develop a more coordinated and integrated approach to reducing this type of violence in the CARICOM region.
With more than 25 years of postgraduate teaching and research, Dr. Wiltshire offers a wealth of experience in gender and development. She has marked leadership skills and advocacy experience at the national, regional and international levels, having served for 14 years in various capacities at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), most recently as the UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative for Barbados, and the OECS. Prior to this, Dr. Wiltshire worked as the Coordinator for gender and sustainable development at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Canada.
A prolific writer, Dr. Wiltshire holds a PhD in political science from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She has published in the areas of foreign policy; Caribbean regional integration; migration and development; social dimensions of structural adjustment; gender and development; and women, environment, and development.
Dr. Wiltshire’s advocacy begins with a focus on eliminating violence against women. In her speech, she compared violence to a cancer that not only destroys women, but also the communities-at-large and the specific counties because “violence, crime and economic development are intricately linked.” She explained that “The ripple effects of violence commence with the victim, radiate outwards to families and the wider society adding to the burdens of the health care and judicial systems. The loss of productivity incurred ultimately has repercussions on the GDP.”Quoting a World Bank Report she pointed out that in a study encompassing nine countries, 30% of all women experienced physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner. “Gender Based Violence stands out as a systemic and systematic violation of human rights and as an obstacle to economic, social and democratic development in all countries,” she stressed.
Wiltshire explained that she seeks to bring greater political visibility and action to the issue of violence against women. She plans to conduct specialized studies on gender based violence in the region and to raise awareness of the need for further action to strengthen integrated responses, which address the judiciary, law enforcement, and social services for the purposes of prevention of gender based violence.
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For more on Dr. Rosina Wiltshire, see http://www.caricom.org/jsp/pressreleases/pres92_10.jsp