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IT IS ABSURD, and truly unbelievable, that in today’s age, a topic that would have come up for debate during last week’s Estimates in House of Assembly, would have surrounded the status of female politicians, particularly those who are not mothers.
We would have expected more seriousissues to be raised in that hallowed chamber, not the childless state of some women MPs.
Coming in the aftermath of International Women’s Day on March 8, one would have thought that worthy issues affecting women would have been delved into, particularly as efforts continue to improve their lot.
It was a former MP and cabinet minister under the Owen Arthur administration, Liz Thompson, who said we need to disabuse ourselves with the belief that women are doing exceptionally well and have gone way past men.
Women are still struggling to be recognised for their worth, even though some have surpassed their male colleagues in a number of fields. There are still not enough women in the boardrooms, and some of those who are, are still not getting the same pay as the men they sit beside.
A hard-hitting and candid Thompson reminded of the many doors that are still closed to women, at the boardroom and management level. She also dealt frankly with the issue of women at the top being single, or being deemed as aggressive. Sadly, some of the negative comments we hear being levelled at women, are made by other women.
We applaud St Michael South East MP Santia Bradshaw for tackling this topic head-on. The opposition MP, who is a lawyer and entertainment promoter, was able to stand in the House and defend colleagues who, like her, are childless.
This is not a new phenomenon in the Parliament of Barbados. Through the years there have been female parliamentarians who did not have children. In our current Parliament, there are also women who do not have children, but their influence and contributions to society cannot be negated nor measured based on their maternal status.
Discussions like these take us and the wider society back into the dark ages where the thinking was that a womanwas less of a person if she did not have offspring.
We reject these views.
We believe that the women in our Parliament have been called on to serve at a high level and are the protectors of the people who they represent. They all have valuable contributions to make, irrespective of whether they have children or not.