Minister Marshall addresses UN session on the status of women

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Minister of State Samantha Marshall
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The protection and advancement of women and girls in Antigua and Barbuda was the theme of remarks made by Minister of State with responsibility for Social Transformation Samantha Marshall during the 67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations in New York.  

Minister Marshall was 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 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’. 

And she highlighted 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 offences 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 penalises several cybercrimes to include cyber bullying, violation of privacy and pornography,” Minister Marshall said.  

She further declared that Antigua and Barbuda, as the only OECS jurisdiction to have a Support and Referral Centre and the first model court for sexual offences 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.  

She 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.  

“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 added.

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