Inspiring Women and Inciting Policy Change in Grenada
Launched in 1995, the Grenada National Organization of Women (GNOW) has been working towards total equality for women in Grenada. Their Mission Statement being: "To create a change in the socialization and culture of power relations between women and men through sensitization and action for equal participation in the household, the community, the workplace and in national life"- The Caribbean NGO Database.
Speaking with GNOW Project Manager, Lorice Pascal, we gained insight into the organisations previous projects and what they have planned for the rest of the 2014 period. One of their key mandates is ensuring that women are not only given a fair chance in the construction industry, but that they are encouraged to pursue careers in construction with available jobs and equal pay. In July of 2013 the organisation hosted a training program for women in carpentry and joining skills via funding they received from the Direct Aid Program out of the government of Australia. The program taught 15 young women how to create window shutters that they can in turn market and sell to the wider public. Coming out of this project the women have been hired privately for shutter building and repair. According to Ms. Pascal, the group was recently hired by The Open Campus of the University of the West Indies to repair their shutters.
Beyond empowerment, the team at GNOW is using the positive outcomes from the training program and the continued work of the trained women to impact legislative change. The organization is currently lobbying for the government to make it law that there must be no less than 5% of women present in the labour force of any construction project. Ms. Pascal believes that using the "round about" method is the best way to affect the policy changes needed in Grenada. GNOW applies pressure to ensure that government projects utilise the 5% baseline and will continue to highlight to the government of Grenada the ways in which women are making leaps in construction as a means to force the hand for policy change.