Teachers say Gender Policy is confusing

The Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) says it wants to understand the 2013 Revised National Gender Policy released earlier this year to a firestorm of criticism. BNTU General Secretary Endeavora Jorgenson says they are still looking over the document.

Endeavora Jorgenson – National Secretary, BNTU: 
vlcsnap-2013-06-25-08h43m40s237Well, I can say that the Union is still examining the document.  The document says the National Women’s Commission. We’re still seeking clarity, because clarity isn’t quite here. In their definition, glossary of terms, it says ‘Gender – the socially constructive roles allocated respectively women and men in society’. We have been in many meetings and in different presentations. and the union is concerned about certain things happening here. One of our questions, is the document prepared so that we can get international funding?  We’re not sure, we’re told No. We look at certain areas and it says the role of international development partner. That implies funding. Note what I said – implies. When it comes to the old issue of gender, they are not spelling it out too clearly and that is our problem. So we’re still seeking clarity with the document. We’ve gotten legal perspectives.  We’ve had [people] from the Ministry of Human Development coming to us. We’re still [looking at] the church, the Bishop’s Commission.  So we’re not quite finished with it.  We’ve had about one presentation or so.  We will scrutinize the document more, and then we will take a position.

Endeavora Jorgenson also answered the question of the Union’s position on open homosexuals possibly teaching in schools and other issues with the document.

Endeavora Jorgenson – National Secretary, BNTU:
vlcsnap-2013-06-25-06h58m15s48What we can say unequivocally is that we respect human rights. We have to respect human rights, but we need to seek clarity. That is what is the problem right now. This document is not too clear in certain areas. What is it hoping to achieve? As a lawyer said, ninety percent is very, very good, but it is those areas that we are not too sure about. As I said, we are still seeking. This document, if anybody has read it and I want to ask everybody to read it, you will see that there is a level of cloudiness, even in the definition here. I mean when I was growing up, gender was male or female. Now this tells me that the social constructed roles allocated respectively to women and men. So we need to seek clarity and what implications it will have. We’ve been told that it has no implications for the law, but when we look at it, we see things that make reference in my opinion; establish a legal framework. That’s a phrase in here, create an anti-discrimination law. So really, there is much work that needs to be done from our perspective for us to officially state a position.

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