Saturday, March 8, 2014

PM Kamla marks International Women's Day: "...much to do as we strive towards true equality"

Trinidad and Tobago joins the global community in celebrating International Women’s Day - today, March 8, 2014. For more than 100 years, this date has been recognized worldwide as a day for celebrating the many successes of women while acknowledging that there is still much to do as we strive towards true equality. 
Sept. 2011: PM signs joint statement on Advancing Women’s Political Participation
The following are the thoughts of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to mark the occasion:
  1. Too often, women are perceived to be solely responsible for the advancement of women’s rights. However, we all have a part to play. In today’s world, the vast array of communication channels, equality research, campaigns and corporate responsibility initiatives means everyone can be an advocate inspiring change for women's advancement.
  2. We must not forget that women remain the largest target group of physical and sexual violence globally. “Not A Minute More: Ending Violence Against Women”, a report by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), states: “Throughout the world, one in three women will be raped, beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Violence against women has become as much a pandemic as HIV/AIDS or malaria. But still it is downplayed by the public at large and policy makers who fail to create and fund programmes to eradicate it.”
  3. Women are also forced to combat many indoctrinated prejudices. For example, in the workplace, women report being paid less than their male counterparts in the same positions and fields. Moreover, the proverbial glass ceiling is still a reality for many. On several occasions, women are not afforded the opportunity of promotion even though they possess the required qualifications. Additionally, many women continue to report injustices in the workplace such as the denial of paid maternity leave.
  4. However, we must not allow the many achievements in the advancement of women’s rights to be overshadowed. In the past, for example, alarming numbers of women across the globe were denied education even at a basic level. Today, while education is still not entirely available for girls in some regions, the increasing numbers of women pursuing secondary and tertiary education all over the world is a source of great encouragement as it suggests that the availability to education is on the rise.
  5. Also on the rise is legislation that seeks to protect women and girls from abuse and any accompanying stigma. As such, more women feel sufficiently empowered to speak out and share their stories. This allows for many social ills to be confronted as the victims are less frequently shamed into silence.
  6. Furthermore, while the corporate world may still be a difficult place for women to excel, it must be noted that more female entrepreneurs are emerging as opposed to male entrepreneurs. Additionally, in the business sector, women are referred to as examples of economic locomotives. They play a pivotal role in the food, agriculture and manufacturing industries to name a few.
  7. Most of all, women are no longer forced to choose between having a professional career and being a wife or mother. Once thought to be mutually exclusive activities, the working family woman is now seen as a valuable asset as she is perceived to be particularly well-versed in the field of problem resolution.
  8. As true equality for women draws closer, it becomes increasingly apparent that women's rights are beneficial to the individual as well as the wider society. As such, we must all do whatever we can to ensure that each member of our society is best equipped to lead a positive and fruitful life regardless of their sex.
PM's Quote: “We have many highly successful women in our country, but the system itself militates against women rising. Too often, women give up and don’t pursue their dreams. I would like to see more women get involved in politics at the highest levels, so that the country would see us for what we are and not pay attention to the shoes we wear and the dress we choose. We don’t notice that in men.

“I am my own woman…and was, long before I became Prime Minister. Attending to my family’s needs only made me stronger as a leader because if you know how to run a home and ensure each person’s particular need is met, it’s the best leadership training you can have.” 

Kamla Persad-Bissessar, First Female Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Interview with Sunday Guardian - Sunday, December 22, 2013

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai