United Nations 2013 Theme:
“A promise is a Promise: Time for action to end violence against Women”
Theme on the International Women’s Day Website 2013:
“The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum”
|File: PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar at the UN in New York, September 2011|
signing the joint statement on Advancing Women’s Political Participation
There is cause for hope. Some 160 countries, including Trinidad and Tobago, have laws to address violence against women.
Yet, worldwide, we are continuing to see unconscionable acts of violence against women. In far too many instances, women and girls are still manipulated to feel ashamed of themselves and the very violence which was committed against them, at times even being punished while the perpetrators remain free.
This year the United Nations has chosen, “A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to end Violence against Women” as its theme for International Women’s Day.
This is a call to action which no country should or can ignore. Half of the world’s citizens cannot be relegated to the background; be denied education, healthcare and opportunities for personal advancement; be routinely humiliated and abused, while world leaders speak of economic recovery and political and social reform.
From the moment I assumed office as Prime Minister, I put the issue of the empowerment of women, especially in the area of political participation, on the front burner, both nationally and internationally.
I strongly believe and I will continue to advocate that it is imperative that women be viewed as equal partners with men in private and public spheres of life and decision making, given the fact that women are indeed a critical force in democratic governance.
I designated two very capable and dedicated women, Ms Hazel Brown and Ms Brenda Gopeesingh as Special Envoys on Women and Gender Equality.
I established the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development, which is tasked with advancing the national agenda on gender equality; sensitizing public officers on gender responsive budgeting; and ensuring that our children are nurtured and protected.
I proposed the new category of the Medal for the Development of Women to be included in our National Awards.
I will continue to use my Office and position regionally and internationally to propose, champion and influence policy and decisions targeted to eliminate violence and discrimination against women.
As Prime Minister, I unequivocally state that violence against women is unacceptable, will not be tolerated and every effort will be made to bring the perpetrators of these acts against the human rights and dignity of women to justice.
I extend heartfelt sympathy to the families, here at home, who have lost a mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, grandmother, niece or cousin over the past year through violence.
The anguished pleas and stifled screams… the physical and psychological pain of women and girls subjected to violence and abuse must stop now.
My Government will review existing legislation governing the care and protection of women and children, and that process has already begun, to ensure compliance with international obligations and best practice. Women cannot continue to live in fear for their lives and for that of their children.
My Government also recognizes that preventing violence necessitates changes in attitudes, beliefs and behaviours. It involves awareness-raising, community mobilization and education and support programmes. It demands engagement, discussion and conversation with our men and boys.
More importantly it requires collaboration – Government, civil society, survivors, the private sector and concerned individuals – working together to provide the full range of services and responses needed to arrest the spread of violence against women.
Let us stand united, on this International Women’s Day, in our support for our sisters worldwide and determined in our desire to end all forms of violence against women and girls and to promote the ideals of equal rights for men and women.
Read more; visit the official website: http://www.unwomen.org/how-we-work/csw/iwd2013/