Mauritius

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The government of Mauritius has recently enacted the 2008 Equal Opportunities Act, which prohibits any direct or indirect discrimination in areas such as employment, recruitment, distribution of services and access to education. Like the Employment Rights Act 2008, the Equal Opportunities Act provides provisions against sexual harassment.[1] In addition, Mauritius adopted, in 2008, a National Gender Policy Framework, aimed and addressing discriminatory practices in a wide range of areas,[2]and the government has declared its intention to undertake a review of the 1968 Constitution. Although women in Mauritius fare well in terms of educational attainment, this has not translated into equality in terms of wage equality, income levels or representation in political life.[3]
Also, the National Women Council under the aegis of the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare (MGECDFW) is now engaged in an island-wide campaign on the dissemination of information on gender equality and gender issues. Sensitisation campaigns take place in the network of women centres across the island, including in community centres. Concurrently, the MGECDFW has an ongoing “Men as Partners Programme” and “Working with Boys for Gender Equality” that targets men and youngsters in the different communities to sensitise them on gender equality, challenge patriarchal attitudes and deep rooted stereotypes concerning the roles and responsibilities of women and men in family and society.[4]
In 1995, the Constitution of Mauritius was amended to include gender in Section 16 which guarantees protection from discrimination, defined as “affording different treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, caste, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex.”[5] It should be noted that the discrimination clause does not, however, apply to personal status law, including adoption, marriage, divorce, burial and devolution of property on death.[6]
Mauritius ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1984 and the Optional Protocol on violence against women in 2008.[7] The country signed the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa in 2005.[8]

 


[1] CEDAW (2011a) pp.2-3 [2] CEDAW (2010a) p.7 [3] World Economic Forum (2010) p.214; CEDAW (2013) [4] Ministry of Gender Equality (n.d.) [5] Section 16, Constitution of Mauritius [6] CEDAW (2011c) p.8; CEDAW (2011d) p.3 [7] United Nations Treaty Collection (UNTC) (2013) [8] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (2013)

 

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