The following is a statement from the Barbados Labour Party in honour of International Women's Day.
Team BLP salutes all women residing in Barbados on the occasion of International Women’s Day, as we reflect on the significant improvements to the status of women during the last 50 years in particular, as a result of the worldwide movement to reverse centuries of injustice.
As we celebrate the impressive achievements of our women, we are mindful of the vanguard role played by the Barbados Labour Party (BLP), especially the 1976-81 administration led by the late Prime Minister J.M.G.M. “Tom” Adams, ably supported by Sir Henry Forde as Attorney-General. Indeed, it was the 1977 establishment of the landmark National Commission on the Status of WoWomen which served as a catalyst for the advancement of women’s rights, paving the way for many to break the proverbial “glass ceiling”.
As a result, many qualified women today are in positions of leadership and influence across all sectors and at all levels of our society, joining hands with our men to make an invaluable contribution to national development. Given the BLP’s unmatched track record in promoting opportunities for the advancement of our women, it is not surprising that its political leadership today is in the capable hands of a woman. Team BLP proudly salutes our leader, Mia Amor Mottley Q.C.
Thus far, Barbados has had two female Governors-General including the incumbent. Following in the trailblazing footsteps of Dame Billie Miller who served in the two 1976-86 BLP administrations and again in the three 1994-2018 BLP administrations, several women have subsequently served in Cabinet as ministers. She served as Deputy Prime Minister during the first two terms. The first woman to serve as a Member for Parliament, the late Dame Ermy Bourne, who was among my predecessors as the representative for St Andrew, also came from the BLP.
Additionally, there have been several female Supreme Court judges, and we have just seen the appointment of the first woman as Director of Public Prosecutions. Immediately after Dame Billie, our current leader also served with distinction as Deputy Prime Minister. However, unlike Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Dominica, Barbados is yet to have its first female prime minister. The forthcoming general election presents an historic opportunity for us to break this remaining glass ceiling and finally be on par with our CARICOM neighbours.
As we look forward in great humility to constituting the next government of Barbados following the forthcoming general election, Team BLP is particularly mindful that women, as the head of most households on the island, have borne the brunt of the pressure resulting from the punishing economic measures resulting from the mismanagement of the outgoing DLP administration. An immediate priority for the new BLP administration will be the introduction of family-friendly policies to ease the squeeze on our women. These policies will also bring relief to our children and also our men.
#PressforProgress! A Happy International Women’s Day from Team BLP to the women of Barbados!
George Walton Payne, Chairman