Mauritius faces several challenges to gender equality and women's representation at Board Level.
In line with Mauritius Vision 2030, and with the objective to promote women's descriptive and substantive representation, a Parliamentary Gender Caucus has been established at the level of the National Assembly in March 2017. Strategic planning exercises are inspired from best practices identified in other countries in the region.
The percentage of women in formal politics in Mauritius is around 12% (2015), while the last study of 2003 on women’s representation at Board Level in Mauritius remained at 7%. The Government of Mauritius had adopted in 2008 a National Gender Policy Framework that called upon all Ministries to formulate their respective sector specific gender policy. As at date all Ministries have in place their gender policies with an allocated budget of USD 6,500 for implementation of gender specific programmes.
Nevertheless, several challenges to gender equality and women's representation remain :
1)Neither the status of implementation of gender policies nor the status of gender equality in the private sector have so far been addressed.
2)The Concluding Comments of CEDAW have identified a number of areas for redress to achieve gender equality and equity in Mauritius and promote and protect women’s human rights.
3)The percentage of women in higher echelons of decision making needs to be addressed for their substantive representation at the level of Parliament.
4) The capacity of gender focal points in sectoral ministries is also limited in terms of their expertise or skills in gender mainstreaming in policies and programmes as well as in gender responsive budgeting processes
5) In addition, the number of reported cases of violence is currently on the rise and there is a need for a coordinated and holistic approach from all stakeholders to address the scourge of violence
The Vision 2030 of Mauritius provides the overall framework for action for sustainable development.
A Parliamentary Gender Caucus has been established at the Level of the National Assembly of Mauritius in March 2017 following an amendment to the Rules and Procedures and Standing Order of Parliament, with the support of UNDP.
The overall vision of the Caucus is the attainment of gender equality, through inter alia, enabling cross-party collaboration to advocate for gender sensitivity in Parliament; acting as a watchdog for the implementation of sectoral gender policies; commissioning of research on salient gender issues and building capacity of Members of Parliament to mainstream gender in bills, debates and other processes of the Legislature.
Activities have been launched through the commissioning by the Gender Caucus of a participatory gender auditing exercise in both the public and private sector that assesses the status of gender equality, and identifies gaps and challenges for redress. The support of the Private sector has been sought from an Umbrella Organisation regrouping around 1200 private firms.
The Gender Caucus has also commissioned a study on the sociological profiling of perpetrators of domestic violence to be able to address the root causes of intimate partner violence. As a result of this study, with technical support from UNDP, an online Domestic Violence Information System is currently set up at the level of the Executive.
To ensure long term sustainability in line with the national development objectives, the Gender Caucus is currently in the process of formulating its strategic plan, with the support of UNDP, and will be inspired from best practices from Uganda, Rwanda and Malawi, as well as other countries of the SADC and the SADC Regional Women Parliamentary Forum.