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Gender equality and women's empowerment are human rights lie at the heart of development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
Despite the progress that has been made, six out of ten of world's poorest people are women and girls, less than 16 percent of the world's parliamentarians are women, two thirds of all children shut outside the school gates are girls and, both in times of armed conflict and behind closed doors at home, women are still systematically subjected to violence.
In Jamaica, more women than men live in poverty, far more women are unemployed, despite their educational gains Gender is a cross-cutting issue in all aspects of social and economic life in Jamaica. Gender roles limit the realization of the full potential of both males and females. Women have made considerable progress in Jamaica, but males have fallen behind in the education and health systems and are more susceptible to violence. Females out-perform males at every level of the educational system. In spite of this, their superior qualifications are not reflected in the labour market, where males have lower unemployment rates, earn higher wages and occupy higher professional and managerial levels.
That is why UNDP integrates gender equality and women's empowerment in its four main areas of work: poverty reduction, democratic governance, crisis prevention and recovery, and environment and sustainable development.
UNDP is committed to making gender equality and women's empowerment a reality. UNDP-supported interventions rest firmly on the belief that gender equality and women's empowerment should underpin every aspect of human development, and that women and men should participate equally in setting priorities for, and becoming involved in, development work. Likewise, they should benefit equally from the opportunities this opens.
UNDP Jamaica has fully implemented gender rating of all its programmes and projects with a view to ensuring that, as far as possible, their outputs promote gender equality and women's empowerment. A mandatory gender monitoring exercise serves to build the capacity of our staff to implement gender mainstreaming.
In the 2007 - 2011 period, specific projects have been undertaken by the UNDP Governance programme including: